Episodes
This week we take a fascinating look at how highly gendered languages are dealing with the drive to become more inclusive. Plus, we look at the differences between "simple" and "simplistic" and "backward" and "backwards."
Published 08/12/22
The delightful Ellen Jovin of the Grammar Table (you may have seen her sitting on the street answering grammar questions in your city) joined me to talk about her new book, "Rebel with a Clause," what possessed her to set up the Grammar Table in the first place, why Twitter is vastly better than Facebook for doing language polls, and more.
Published 07/29/22
It's time for our quarterly listener question extravaganza! I answer your questions about the words "ripe," "lede," "prevent," "awesome," and "fulsome" and share some knowledge about MacGuffins and the drink known as a daisy.
Published 07/22/22
The numbers sections of style books finally pushed me over the edge, and I have some stories you won't believe! We also talk about how cool code-switching is.
Published 07/08/22
For Independence Day, we look at the word "freedom" and the surprising words that came from the same roots. Plus, we look at odd sentences with double subjects and when you should (and shouldn't) use them.
Published 07/01/22
What's up with the fancy-schmancy "ahnt" pronunciation of the word "aunt"? And why are the rules about capitalizing cocktail names so wonky? We have all the answers today!
Published 06/24/22
"Father" as a word shows how we humans love to extend our metaphors. Did you know it was only relatively recently that priests were referred to as "father," for example? And then, for the 50th anniversary of the Watergate scandal, we look at the "-gate" suffix and what made it so successful that it has spread all over the world (even to non-English-speaking countries).
Published 06/17/22
Are people from Liverpool really called "Liverpudlians"? Where does the name "Tar Heel" come from? We have the answers to some of the most interesting questions about demonyms: the names for people from specific places. Also, has anyone ever criticized you for using the word "healthy" instead of "healthful"? We explain why that happens. And finally, we've solved the mystery of "sussies."
Published 06/10/22
This week, we look at what makes wisdom teeth so smart, how to properly write the name of your degree, and what's up with the "sussies" familect?
Published 06/03/22
Where’d "thou" go? And will it ever make a comeback?
Published 05/27/22
You'll never view spellers in the bee asking questions the same way again after you learn about the schwa from Brian Sietsema, an associate pronouncer for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Published 05/20/22
When you say "Go get 'em!" you think that's short for "Go get them," but you're wrong! We look at the fascinating history of some English pronouns. Plus, we look at how Neil Gaiman uses the subjunctive mood in "American Gods" to underscore moments of uncertainty.
Published 05/13/22
With her book "Children of Blood and Bone" spending 120 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, Tomi Adeyemi knows what it takes to write a great book. Listen in on my conversation with this charming writer about her thoughts on the writing life and what she has to offer in her new masterclass, The Writer's Roadmap.
Published 05/06/22
Today, we'll talk about some weird nouns that are always plural, and then we'll go two-dimensional and talk about flat adverbs. | Subscribe to the newsletter for regular updates. | Watch my LinkedIn Learning writing course. | Peeve Wars card game.  | Grammar Girl books.  | HOST: Mignon Fogarty | VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) | Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network. | Theme music by Catherine Rannus at beautifulmusic.co.uk. |...
Published 04/28/22
The famous NASA "blue marble" image could have influenced people to make blue the color of environmentalism and Earth Day, but green won the day. In honor of the special day, we look at how the meaning of "green" has changed over time. Plus, we investigate the "fun" continuum and whether it's OK to use the words "funner" and "funnest." | Subscribe to the newsletter for regular updates. | Watch my LinkedIn Learning writing course. | Peeve Wars card game.  | Grammar Girl books.  | HOST: Mignon...
Published 04/21/22
It's "listener question extravaganza" time, so I have some quick hits on discourse markers such as "you know," where we get the word "doppelganger," how to punctuate around trademarks, and the difference between "funny" and "funnily." It's a good one! | SPONSORS: https://masterworks.io/about/disclosure and The Jordan Harbinger Show. | Subscribe to the newsletter for regular updates. | Watch my LinkedIn Learning writing course. | Peeve Wars card game.  | Grammar Girl books.  | HOST: Mignon...
Published 04/14/22
We look at the linguistic difference between lying and misleading, and then because people often lie with numbers, we look at the difference between "percent" and "percentage" and how to use them. | SPONSORS: https://masterworks.io/about/disclosure and https://bit.ly/ggondemand with the code MACMIL and https://bombas.com/grammar and https://monday.com/podcast. | Subscribe to the newsletter for regular updates. | Watch my LinkedIn Learning writing course. | Peeve Wars card game.  | Grammar...
Published 04/08/22
Prodded by Bruce Willis's family's announcement that he is leaving acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, we revisited language disorders, and the kinds of things we can learn from them. Today's segment was written by Syelle Graves, who has a PhD in linguistics and is the assistant director of ILETC (Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context). She was also a 40 under Forty alumni award honoree at SUNY New Paltz. You can find her at syellegraves.com. |...
Published 03/31/22
A few months ago, I started to notice people talking about spoons in a weird way, so I investigated and found that people are using an interesting concept called "spoon theory." Also this week, we look at why nouns are more complicated than you may think, and we dig into concrete, abstract, collective, and compound nouns--how you can identify them, how you can tell them apart, and what makes them fun. | SPONSORS: https://masterworks.io/about/disclosure and https://bit.ly/ggondemand with the...
Published 03/24/22
"Barracking," "sheilas" and "shouts": How the Irish influenced Australian English. Plus, what makes "NASA" different from "FBI." | Subscribe to the newsletter for regular updates. | Watch my LinkedIn Learning writing course. | Peeve Wars card game.  | Grammar Girl books.  | HOST: Mignon Fogarty | VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) | Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network. | Theme music by Catherine Rannus at beautifulmusic.co.uk. |...
Published 03/17/22
Have you ever wondered why it's called the "Oxford comma"? We have the answer to that and many more questions you may have about this controversial punctuation mark. Plus, we'll also talk about why it's fine to start a sentence with "and" (and why you were probably taught that it's not).  | Subscribe to the newsletter for regular updates. | Watch my LinkedIn Learning writing course. | Peeve Wars card game.  | Grammar Girl books.  | HOST: Mignon Fogarty | VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL...
Published 03/10/22
A listener wondered about the word "materiel." What's its deal (and is it related to "personnel")? Plus, "pepper and salt." "Groom and bride." "White and black." Are binomials the same across languages? | Subscribe to the newsletter for regular updates. |Watch my LinkedIn Learning writing course. |Peeve Wars card game.  |Grammar Girl books.  |HOST: Mignon Fogarty |VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) |Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network. |Theme music by...
Published 03/03/22