M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘language

The Reader’s Guide to Journalists

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Rule No. 60: TV journalists never “interview” people. They always “sit down with” them.

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Written by Alex

June 1, 2015 at 7:47 pm

The Reader’s Guide to Journalists

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Rule No. 59: Real-world values rarely increase “exponentially.” It just sounds cooler than “a lot.”

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Written by Alex

October 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

The Reader’s Guide to Journalists

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Rule No. 55: A person is “well-known” if spell-check doesn’t underline his or her name in red.

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Written by Alex

September 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Grammar Day: ‘Correct’ and ‘proper’ aren’t the same thing

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In honor of National Grammar Day, I’m republishing this post from 2011:

National Grammar Day (as proclaimed by the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar) started in March 2008, almost exactly two years after Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet on Twitter.

Putting those events in the same sentence isn’t a non sequitur. Grammar isn’t a simple system, but it’s easy to reduce beliefs about “correct” grammar to simple cris de coeur that fit snugly in Twitter’s 140-character limit. The #language hashtag is an active one, and much of the traffic blares its horns at a misspelling or a grammatical offense that has slipped through to publication. I’ve certainly sped along in its fast lane — #language is littered with my own objections and funny-to-me observations.

Debates over grammar are like debates over the existence of God or what region is home to the best barbecue*. We all have firmly held beliefs, and what makes the debates so fun is that all of us are right and all of us are wrong.

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Written by Alex

March 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm