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  • Lies Your Grammar Teacher Told You: Nouns and Adjectives

    Notional grammars define adjectives as “words that describe nouns.” Big, cute, green, small, and wonky are prototypical adjectives. In big bully,...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 31, 2019
  • Lies Your Grammar Teacher Told You: Indirect Objects

    I recently tweeted my post entitled Using Nouns and Noun Phrases as Indirect Objects. To my tweet, I received a comment...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 29, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Aqu

    <aqu> “water” from Latin aqua “water, the sea, rain” Word Sums Aqu + a -> aqua Aqu + a + s...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 28, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Birth

    <birth> “bear offspring,” from Old Norse burðr, byrd, replacing Old English ġebyrd “birth, descent, race; offspring; nature; fate,” from PIE *bhrto...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 21, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Talc

    <talc> from Middle French talc, probably from Spanish talco and Medieval Latin talcus, also talcum “talc” from Arabic talq, from Persian...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 15, 2019
  • A Short History of ‘You’

    “What’s wrong with you?” posits the Oxford Dictionaries. But, seriously, what’s up with the oddness that is the second person personal...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 12, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Wint(e)r

    <wint(e)r> Old English winter (plural wintru) “fourth and coldest season of the year” Words Sums Wint(e)r = winter Wint(e)r + s...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 9, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Solve

    <solve> “disperse, dissipate, loosen” from Latin solvere Word Sums Solve Solve + s = solves Solve + ed = solved Solve...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 6, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Lact

    <lact> “milk” from Latin lac (genitive lactis) “milk” Word Sums Lact + ate = lactate Lact + ate + s =...

    Heather JohnsonMarch 4, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Ornithe

    <ornithe> “bird” from Ancient Greek ὄρνις (órnis, “bird”) Word Sums Ornithe + s = ornithes Ornithe + ic = ornithic Ornithe...

    Heather JohnsonFebruary 27, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Prince

    <prince> “ruler of a principality” from Old French prince “prince, noble lord,” from Latin princeps “first man, chief leader; ruler, sovereign,”...

    Heather and Poppy JohnsonFebruary 25, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Pumpkin

    <pumpkin> alteration of earlier pumpion, from obsolete French pompon, via Latin from Greek pepōn “large melon” Words Sums Pumpkin Pumpkin +...

    Heather and Poppy JohnsonFebruary 19, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Vace

    <vace> “empty” from Latin vacāre ” “to lack, empty” Words Sums Vace + ant = vacant Vace + ant + ly...

    Heather JohnsonFebruary 18, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Swim

    <swim> “move in water” Old English swimman (verb), of Germanic origin Word Sums Swim Swim + s = swims Swim +...

    Heather and Poppy JohnsonFebruary 8, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Thrall

    <thrall> Old English thrǣl “slave,” from Old Norse thræll Word Sums Thrall Thrall + s = thralls Thrall + ed =...

    Heather JohnsonFebruary 5, 2019