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Split Infinitives in English: Not Actually Wrong, But Unwise

The rule against split infinitives is a bookish restriction serving no real function in English. However, many people have memorized the “no split infinitives” rule and take it very seriously. It’s best never to split infinitives (unless you want to really emphasize the risk you are taking). More: Split Infinitives in English: Not Actually Wrong, But Unwise.

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Does the phrase “based off of” make you shudder… or shrug?

When I first started noticing the phrase “based off of” in student papers, I thought it was just a careless typo. But I’ve noticed it more and more in online writing and in casual speech.

Saying “based off of” may be related to the phrase “flying of off,” as it seems to mean something like “is now different from, but was once more obviously similar to.” By contrast, “based on” may be taking on the meaning “still directly connected to.”

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About that Cough, Rough, Pony, Bologna Meme

Do the spellings of cough & rough, pony & bologna bug you, too? English evolves organically, without our permission. Words that look similar but are pronounced differently generally came to the language from different sources and/or at different times, by an organic process that is not controlled by people in smoky board rooms. In our day, private organizations such as dictionary publishers or the Associated Press do regularly make decisions on…

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Major benefits for students who attend live theater, study finds

I wonder what additional measurable benefits come from *performing* in live theater? Field trips to live theater enhance literary knowledge, tolerance and empathy among students, according to a study published this week by researchers in the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform…. “What we determined from this research is that seeing live theater produced positive effects that reading a play or watching a movie of the play does not…

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Important University of Virginia Messages Regarding Sexual Assault

University of Virginia president takes an important first step in addressing serious allegations of sexual violence. I gained no personal benefits from the fraternity/sorority culture at UVa, and while I understand not all fraternities are party-first houses, I would not shed a tear if the whole fraternity system shut down permanently. Beginning immediately, I am suspending all fraternal organizations and associated social activities until January 9th, ahead of the beginning…

Dorfman
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Surprise: Humanities Degrees Provide Great Return On Investment

Completing a humanities degree is a good marker for economic success. I regularly tell my students that their liberal arts degree will make them competitive for internships, and that it’s the internships (plural) that will get them their entry-level jobs. The present value of the extra earnings that graduates in humanities majors can expect over their lifetime is $302,400 for drama majors, $444,700 for English majors, $537,800 for history majors,…

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The joy of text – the fall and rise of interactive fiction

Although the IF community first formed around Inform, a tool for creating parser-based games of the popular sort released by Infocom (Zork, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game, and A Mind Forever Voyaging), tools today are numerous, and many of them bypass the compelling but fricative parser language entirely. For example, in recent years, a free text tool called Twine has exploded onto the creative scene, offering entry-level designers…