This article was first published on June 9, 2015, on The Editors’ Weekly, the blog of Editors Canada (the Editors’ Association of Canada)
You want some tough spelling for an English learner to plough through? Head to ough. There are six different ways it can be said at the end of a word, as in plough, through, dough, enough, cough and (for those who spell it that way) hiccough. (Never mind the versions with another letter after it!)
Nearly all of the ough words trace back to the same final consonant in Old English (what our language was from the seventh to 11th centuries), but to several different vowels — vowels that do not match tidily to modern sounds.
What was the Old English final consonant? It was g, also written as h. In certain places, the Old English g softened…
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I don’t have any children, but I’m going to speak as if I know what the thought process behind naming a child is like. Hope you don’t mind. I feel as though naming a child is a lot like naming a blog. Hear me out.
1. You don’t want anything that bullies will make fun of.
2. You want something that you won’t get tired of saying.
3. If you can find a name that can be abbreviated, that’s a bonus. It’s easier to yell out “Chris” than it is “Christopher.” Just as it’s easier to yell out “Pal” instead of “Paul”.
You get the point. Drop letters, save saliva.
When I named my blog, I didn’t really give it much thought. Up until a week before this blog went up, I had never even dreamed of having a blog.
I named my blog The Captain’s Speech because I was the captain of my intramural…
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Writing is like anything else. The trends and fashions change along with the audience. For instance, Moby Dick spends an excruciatingly long time talking about whales, namely because the audience of the time probably had never seen one and never would. If we did this today? Sure, feel free to walk around in a literary gold-plated cod piece, but er…
Epics were also very popular. Follow a character from the womb until death. FANTASTIC STUFF! Why? Because no one had HBO, Pinterest or Angry Birds. Books were a rare indulgence usually reserved for a handful of literate folks with the money or connections to get their hands on…a book.
Also, since writers were paid by the word, their works were padded more than a freshman term paper. Their motto? No modifier left behind. These days? We have to write leaner…
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