If everything is awesome, then nothing is

Back in the day — and I’m talking the 17th century here, not the ’70s, though the entity currently known as Carlin Liao wasn’t really a thing in either of those time periods — the word “awesome” meant what its component subwords meant, describing something that “inspires awe.” No, not kittens-are-cute-and-cuddly
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Musings on meaning

For the past five semesters of my life, I’ve sought to learn as much about grammar and language possible. It started when I became a copy editor for The Daily Californian, where I spent four hours per week fixing other people’s writing and fancying myself some sort of grammar guru
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Putting modifiers in their places

The misplaced (or dangling) modifier is one of the sneakiest grammar errors — once it slips into your writing, it may be difficult to catch and correct, especially when the modifiers are longer phrases or clauses, rather than just a single word. Some of these misplaced modifiers are simple to
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That is, for example

It seems like every time I want to use i.e. or e.g. in my writing, I have to Google the meaning of each to avoid an embarrassing mishap on a paper. And I don’t think I’m the only one who gets these Latin abbreviations mixed up. E.g., which means exempli
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Diary of a hot-and-cold copy editor

Dear Diary, Sept. 30, 2013 — Working at a newspaper’s copy desk is already so much fun! I learned so much today about AP style. For instance, “convince” and “persuade” are not synonymous. How can even the most seasoned of copy editors possibly wrap their head around so many intricate
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On the semicolon

I loved using semicolons when I was really young. I had no idea what they represented or how one was supposed to apply them, but I just thought they looked cool, so I threw them haphazardly into my sentences wherever I thought one would fit aesthetically. The frequency only worsened
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The acronym POV

What do “NATO,” “TNT,” “sonar,” “AMC,” “AIDS,” “laser,” and “SEAL” have in common? OK, so it’s an easy question — obviously, they are all acronyms. In fact, though, that’s wrong! Most of the general populace is aware that these particular chunks of letters abbreviate strings of authentic English words with
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Sometimes it’s right to be wrong

When Edgar Bergen ventriloquized the words, “Who’da thunk it?” in the early 1940s, little did he know that his dim-witted, buck-toothed puppet would come to popularize the ever-growing phenomenon of purposeful grammatical inaccuracy in idiomatic expressions. Bad grammar is everywhere, much to the chagrin of any copy editor or language
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Double spaces need to go. Period.

Long, long ago in the era before the age of computers — yep, we’re going waaaaaaay back — there existed a certain machine in almost every home.  It wasn’t a fancy contraption with chrome plating and a luminous partly eaten apple on the side.  In fact, it was essentially a
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A tense situation

Ring, rang, rung. Shrink, shrank, shrunk. Begin, began, begun. Confused? It seems that some words undergo orthographic gymnastics to be conjugated properly into the past tense. While moving from present to past tense is, in many cases, as simple as adding “ed,” certain words require a little more finagling and,
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