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  • Adjectives Versus Verbs: Participial Adjectives

    As I have written many times before, the line between grammatical forms is blurry at best, especially among lexical categories like...

    Heather JohnsonJune 4, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Pter

    <pter> “feather, wing” from Greek pteron Word Sums Pter + ide + ine -> pteridine Pter + ide + ine +...

    Heather JohnsonMay 28, 2019
  • How to Diagram a Sentence: Form-Function Diagrams

    What is grammar? The popular notion is actual or presumed prescriptive notions about the correct use of a language. But linguistics...

    Heather JohnsonMay 20, 2019
  • Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Noun Phrase Complements

    Notional grammars define verbs as “words that denote actions and states of being.” A verb phrase consists of a verb plus...

    Heather JohnsonMay 13, 2019
  • Please Don’t Lambast(e) Me

    I love all forms of word play. Before Easter, I heard a local news reporter pronounce the word <lambasted> “to criticize...

    Heather JohnsonMay 11, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Kin

      <kin> “family; race; kind, sort, rank; nature” from Old English cynn Word Sums Kin a + Kin -> akin Kin...

    Heather JohnsonMay 10, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Rain

    <rain> “water from clouds” from Old English regn “rain” Word Sums Rain Rain + s -> rains Rain + ed ->...

    Heather JohnsonMay 9, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Vegete

    <vegete> “non-animal life ,” from Old French vegetable “living, fit to live,” directly from Medieval Latin vegetabilis “growing,...

    Heather JohnsonMay 3, 2019
  • Not All Forms That Function as Adverbials Are Adverbs

    The other day I read a tweet that made some claims about adverbs: “The -s in “unawares,” as in “they were...

    Heather JohnsonMay 1, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Pink

    <pink> “pale red color” meaning “pale rose color” first recorded 1733 “small” from Dutch pink “small” Word Sums pink Pink +...

    Heather JohnsonApril 18, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Yester

    <yester> “former, earlier, previous” from Old English geostran “yesterday” Words Sums Yester Yester + s = yesters Yester + Day =...

    Heather JohnsonApril 16, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Somn

    <somn> “sleep” from somnus “sleep” Words Sums Somn + us = somnus Somn + o + G(e)n(e) = somnogen Somn +...

    Heather JohnsonApril 15, 2019
  • Are ‘Yesterday,’ ‘Today’, and ‘Tomorrow’ Nouns or Adverbs?

    Are the words yesterday, today, and tomorrow adverbs or nouns? Oxford Living Dictionaries identifies all three words as an adverb first...

    Heather JohnsonApril 14, 2019
  • Lies Your Grammar Teacher Told You: Singular and Plural

    I recently shared a photo across my social media accounts of the grammar textbook that I currently use with my oldest....

    Heather JohnsonApril 6, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Thaumate

    <thaumate> “wonder, astonishment, thing to look at, miracle,” from Greek thauma (genitive thaumatos), literally “a thing to look at,” from root...

    Heather JohnsonApril 4, 2019