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  1. Black Friday – or the Lingua Franca Retail Tour

    The international creep of English is no better exemplified than by “Black Friday”, the day immediately following Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Although shopping used to be far from the minds of those giving thanks for what they had, Black Friday has become a retail bonanza […]

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  2. Terms You Can Do Without: Cut Superfluous Words!

    If you’re asked, “Would you like the minestrone soup with that?”, you wouldn’t be wrong to reply, “I’ll have just the minestrone.” Too often we double up words, such as “minestrone soup”, when only one is required. Here is another list in our series on superfluous words to cut from your writing.   Reduce: located […]

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  3. Wonderful Words to Wield

    Our wonderful words series features terms that may not be well known, but that are odd and marvelous. Floccinaucinihilipilification Floccinaucinihilipilification means “the action or habit of estimating something as worthless”. World Wide Words (www.worldwidewords.org) gives us more details on where this word comes from. There, British etymologist Michael Quinion writes: “Back in the eighteenth century, […]

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  4. Feel Good about Slashing Superfluous Words

    Snipping thread, trimming hair … both lead to good results. It’s the same with cutting entire phrases from your texts, making phrases shorter, reducing groups of words down to one term or substituting several words with just one. No matter which method you choose, you’ll feel good about having slashed all those superfluous words while simplifying your writing.   […]

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  5. Wonderful Words Uncovered

    Our wonderful words series features terms that may not be well known, but that are odd and marvelous. This one doesn’t even appear in the Oxford English Dictionary or in Merriam-Webster’s. Snobocracy As most people know, a “snob” is “a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth who seeks to associate […]

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  6. Your Left Is My Right: The Quirky Lingo of Handedness

    Opposites don’t necessarily attract, but they usually make things clearer. Coins always land either heads up or tails down. The New York Black-and-White Cookie is iced in both colors, each occupying the same amount of surface area. And left and right are two distinct sides – except when your left happens to be my right. […]

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