Category Archives: language

Take a Stanza: Spring and Fall

May almost slipped away before I got a chance to post the month’s stanza. This poem, “Spring and Fall,” was written by one of my favorite poets of all time, Gerard Manley Hopkins. A couple of the lines are hard to unpack, and the syntax is a little convoluted in places, but most of the sense of it is pretty straightforward…

| 1 Comment

The Problem with Student Evaluations

In a blog entry titled “What’s wrong with academia, part two hundred and twenty-four,” the pseudonymous B**ch PhD complains that the student evaluation is typically “the only regular feedback [professors] get on any aspect of our jobs.” Let me tell you, her entry, as well as many of the 110 comments, gave me the willies–because of how much I could identify with the sentiments…

| 3 Comments

Words I’ll Probably Never Use in a Sentence

There are some words that I may not use because they are too vulgar. Others I try to avoid because they may offend someone (and I try my best never to offend). And then there are those I won’t touch because I don’t have the gravitas that such words require. Here is a small sample of the many words I can’t get away with saying–or couldn’t utter without giggling…

| 11 Comments

Take a Stanza – Proustian

It would have been too easy to choose the first stanza of T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” for this month’s verse: “April is the cruellest month…” Instead, I give to you a few lines of a poem by Edward Hirsch…

| 1 Comment

Best Mixed Metaphor Ever

Tad Friend, in a recent New Yorker article titled “Secret Agent Man,” quotes Michael Ovitz, former Hollywood agent and head of Disney…

| 2 Comments

Yale Student Contracts Extended Metaphor Disease

In what scientists are calling the first text-to-human transmission of a virus, a Yale University student who goes by the name “Anotmas” has contracted the deadly Extended Metaphor Disease (EMD). Doctors for the afflicted student first discovered his condition after concerned friends alerted New Haven police to his plaintive cry for help in an online poetry forum…

| 3 Comments

Step Up to the Plate

Lately I’ve been feeling bullish about leveraging innovations and making them top of mind…

| 7 Comments

Take a Stanza – Man Listening to Disc

This idea just popped into my head, and I’m going with it. Once a month, I’m going to post a stanza from a poem–just one stanza, though, because I don’t want to run afoul of copyright law if the poem is a recent one. Okay, if the stanzas are really short, I might include two. And if they’re really long, maybe I’ll select just a part of one.
For the inaugural stanza, I’ve chosen a poem by Billy Collins…

| 4 Comments

New Writing Guide

Announcing the new English Rules Writing Guide!
It’s just a wee little project I decided to put together after looking at my site’s referral log and realizing that most of the people who visit English Rules are probably going away empty handed. A lot of people are looking for help with English “grammer,” so that’s what I’m going to give them…

| 10 Comments

Visual Thesaurus Version 3

One of my favorite online references, Visual Thesaurus, has just been upgraded to version 3, which now includes audio pronunciations, spell checking, and enhanced printing. While it used to be free, it’s still available for a limited number of searches before they require you to pay. Just type in a word, and the visual thesaurus will show a diagram with related words floating around it…

| Leave a comment