Yes, I am a writer-editor, and no, my blog will not comprise pedantic posts about grammar and usage. But for those of you who are hankerin’ for some down ’n dirty linguistic and neologistic slicin’ ’n dicin’, I offer the following short list of 10 of my favorite word nerd sites. What are your faves? Please share!
Carol Fisher Saller, a senior editor at University of Chicago Press, has deftly managed this feisty Q&A since its launch in 1997. One reviewer called her commentary “exquisitely snarky”—I couldn’t have said it better. If you enjoy her pithy delivery, you should also add her diminutive tome, The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice From Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) to your library and peruse her contributions to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s blog, Lingua Franca.
Compiled by a group of truly devoted grammarians, this site is a treasure trove of good advice for writers and editors—and anyone interested in expressing themselves clearly and correctly.
Very arcane discussions hosted by Brian White, an editor at The Boston Globe. Worth a visit.
Sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, this whimsical website is fun as well as informative. Don’t miss the Q&A formatted “Ask Grammar” section—very useful.
Mignon (like the steak–from the French for “cute” or “dainty”) Fogarty has parlayed her geekiness into a very profitable venture. Grammar Girl ™ is an object lesson in how to monetize a blog. Fogarty’s managed to parlay her success into a growing stable of “Quick and Dirty Tips” websites, podcasts and books on everything from nutrition to investing. Grammar Girl’s 101 Misused Words You’ll Never Confuse Again was a Washington Post bestseller and she’s even been on Oprah. Bright girl, that Mignon…
OK, not really a grammar blog, but interesting wordplay, nonetheless. Nancy Friedman (a self-described “recovering journalist”—I can relate) runs a business-naming service, and this blog is all about “Names, brands, writing, and the quirks of the English language” (so says Nancy). It’s all about how words and images conspire to create a brand. Very high concept. Check it out and discover what “fritinancy” actually means.
With a tagline like, “Prescriptivism must die!” you can bet this blog won’t be dull. Gabe Doyle, a fourth-year graduate student in Linguistics at the University of California, San Diego, hosts this lively site. This dude is definitely toiling away at the confluence of technology and culture: “I’m a computational psycholinguist, which means that I use computers to model how people think about language. I work primarily on the issue of how people choose how to express the ideas they want to express.” Irreverent and fun.
“An Irishman’s blog about the English language.” The title is taken from a line spoken by the Queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: “Sentence first – verdict afterwards.” If an Irishman can’t wax grandiloquent about the English language, who can?
Online version of a print (gasp!) column penned by Evan Morris. Good for a larf.
The authors (Patricia T. O’Connor and Stewart Kellerman) have published five books about the English language; they both have extensive backgrounds in journalism, and (OMG) they’re married—can you imagine? Not a very attractive design IMHO (they’re word nerds, not web designers, after all), but quality content, I can assure you.
I know I said 10 Great Grammar Blogs, but everyone loves a freebie, so here ya go:
This is Merrill Perlman’s delightful blog that’s nested within the Columbia Journalism Review website. Ms. Perlman is a veteran of 25 years as an editor at the New York Times and now serves as an independent consultant (fancy name for “freelancer”) and adjunct professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. ’Nuff said.
Aden Nichols is a freelance editor and writer. He is available for print & digital projects: books (academic, narrative/creative nonfiction, memoir, speculative/alternate history, etc.), websites/social media, and business communications. You can contact him at: Aden@LittleFireEditorial.com.