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Language Peeves

languageThe TV news person was commenting about a story concerning the Boston Marathon bombing when she said, “The story just doesn’t jive with the facts.” I tried very hard to picture a story dancing with some facts, but I just couldn’t. The problem was not just with jiving or jitterbugging—I couldn’t even picture them doing the foxtrot.

The newsperson had confused the verb jive, which concerns dancing, with the verb gibe (soft “g”).… Read More

 

The War Against Sexist Language

InsleeWashington state governor Jay Inslee recently signed a bill that goes a long way toward ending biased language in state documents. The new law originated in the House, where it won a 70-22 victory. It then passed the Senate unanimously.

That brings the number of states that have passed “gender-neutral legislation” to eleven, with nine others considering similar action. Liz Watson, a National Women’s Law Center spokesperson, applauds the trend.… Read More

 

Minding Your Pronouns

its1It was the early 1990s and I had just finished a lecture to a group of educators on the teaching of critical thinking. Several people came up to the podium for further discussion. Though I’ve forgotten most of the exchanges, I remember one very well.

A woman asked, “Do you know how many times you used the male pronoun versus the female pronoun?” I confessed that I didn’t.… Read More