Why Doesn't English Have A Gender-Neutral Pronoun?

Referring to a single person who may be of any gender in English can be tricky. It can be awkward to use words like "one" or phrases like "he or she," and many a grammarian hates using "they" as to refer to a single person. How has English gotten this far without such a convenient pronoun? Actually, it hasn't. » 2/17/15 9:10am 2/17/15 9:10am

Brain Damage Can Be Grammar-Specific

We know that a specific form of magnetic stimulation to the brain can render people unable to speak. But it can get a lot more specific than that. Brain lesions can get so selective, they can knock out a particular form of grammar. » 10/21/14 6:20am 10/21/14 6:20am

10 Grammar Mistakes People Love To Correct (That Aren't Actually Wrong)

Are you the sort of person who just loves correcting other people's grammar? Are you sure that you're doing it right? Some things that people have been taught are rules of English grammar are really not rules at all—and some of them are flat-out wrong. » 10/14/14 10:02am 10/14/14 10:02am

Finally, a Quiz for International English Accents

Way back when we all took delight in taking the American dialect quiz, a lot of people wanted a similar one for the accents of the rest of the world. Thanks to Games With Words, we now have that quiz. » 6/13/14 1:00am 6/13/14 1:00am

In Defense Of Typos

The Internet is a landscape filled with—some would say plagued by—typographical errors. But how much should we really worry about a misplaced apostrophe or a mistyped word? » 6/10/14 6:00pm 6/10/14 6:00pm

The Greatest Quotes From Action Movies, Grammatically Diagrammed

If you're a fan of both endlessly quoting movies—from Terminator's "I'll be back!" to Independence Day's "Welcome to Earth!"—and grammar, you'll enjoy these diagrams, breaking down the clauses of some of our favorite movie lines. » 5/16/14 6:00pm 5/16/14 6:00pm

The Opening Sentences of Classic Novels, Diagrammed

How does the first line of Cormac McCarthy's The Road compare grammatically of those of George Orwell's 1984, H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451? They all get the Reed-Kellogg sentence diagramming treatment in this grammatical series. » 2/25/14 5:00pm 2/25/14 5:00pm

1871 Treaty hinged on Americans agreeing not to split infinitives

If you think that you're a stickler for grammar, consider the position of the British regarding the 1871 Treaty of Washington. According to a literary historian, the British government refused to sign a treaty with the Americans if the treaty contained a single split infinitive. » 12/14/13 2:00pm 12/14/13 2:00pm

Why are there so many apostrophes in scifi and fantasy names?

Grammarian Mignon Fogarty takes a look at one of fiction's enduring mysteries: How did all of those apostrophes find their way into the names of aliens, distant lands, and future peoples? » 8/25/13 8:00am 8/25/13 8:00am

Birds are the first non-human animals to use grammar

There are lots of animals, including dogs and apes, that can communicate in something we might understand as sentences. But only one non-human species has complex enough communication that they actually need grammatical rules. Say hello to the Bengal finch. » 6/28/11 4:03pm 6/28/11 4:03pm