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Niche Blogs: The English Language

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There are many, many blogs dedicated to the use of the English language. Some are fairly comprehensive; others are tightly focused on one aspect of language usage that should be corrected, protected, or mocked. Here is a sampling of those blogs for your enjoyment.


Apostrophe Abuse and Apostrophe Catastrophes give us examples of apostrophes that shouldn't be there, and some cases where they should be but aren't. The picture above, from Apostrophe Abuse, makes mistakes in both apostrophe and quotation mark use.

Then there's the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks, which never runs short of material, since it seems memo, ad, and sign makers adore putting quote marks around seemingly random words.

Lower Case l looks at words in which all the letters are capitalized except the L, which happens a lot more than you'd expect.


The tagline at Criggo says "Newspapers are going away. That's too bad." This refers to the entertainment value of the weird things that make it to print because of a deadline rush, miscommunication, or lack of editing. Probably Bad News also collects news items that use odd or confusing language and misprints, but includes internet and television news as well as newspapers.

Say What?! documents signs that make you look twice because of misprints, poor grammar or spelling, confusing syntax, and/or double entendres.

Published mistakes are on the internet are commonplace (especially in my posts), but they are usually corrected as soon as they are noticed. Rest assured there is no shortage of people waiting to point out such mistakes. The fluid nature of internet publishing makes these everyday mistakes hard to blog about. However, internet automation lends itself to a special brand of language comedy. Autocomplete Me publishes screenshots of the Google search feature that suggests what you might be searching for based on previously used search terms that contain the first letters or words you type. You have to wonder about those other searchers. The blog also accepts screenshots from other sources, like Bing and Captcha.

Bad Writing

[Citation Needed] does nothing but repost weird, grammatically wrong, or confusing sentences from Wikipedia.

Writing Advice

The Subversive Copy Editor has advice for writers and for those poor souls who have to deal with them. Other blogs featuring writing advice include Grammar Monkeys and Copyediting. A subcategory of language blogs focus on the misuse or overuse of a particular phrase. The Rosa Parks of Blogs collects examples of "Absurd Comparisons By Real People Using Famous People". Literally, A Web Log tracks the abuse of the word "literally", which is overused and usually misused. You'll find more cliches and examples of bad writing in the blogs It's Your Damned Language and Terribly Write.


Dictionary Evangelist is one of many blogs devoted to words. Another is Wordlustitude, "a dictionary of rare, raw, real words" collects examples of made up terms in publications and defines those odd words. An example is employer-icide, meaning probably just what you think, used in a blurb for an upcoming movie. Other examples include thingy-majiggy-bobdoohicky-thang-thang and geekphoric.

Language as Art

Josh Millard turned a little idea into a flier which turned into a meme and then into a blog called Useless Fliers. Other people are now putting useless fliers up in far-flung places.

Letterheady from Shaun Usher brings us letterheads that are worth a look because of who they come from, great design, and for the fact that some people still write letters on paper. Letterheady is a companion blog to Letters of Note, where you'll find interesting letters of all kinds that deserve to be recorded for posterity. The Ampersand is a photo blog dedicated entirely to instances of ampersands spotted all over.

These are just a few of the many blogs dedicated to the English language. If you know of more, please share them in the comments.

See also: A Sampling of Niche Blogs, Niche Blogs: Awesome Animals Edition, Niche Blogs: Focused on Food, and Niche Blogs: Found Photos Edition.


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Opening Ceremony
These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:


Opening Ceremony

To this:


Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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This First-Grade Math Problem Is Stumping the Internet
May 17, 2017
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If you’ve ever fantasized about how much easier life would be if you could go back to elementary school, this math problem may give you second thoughts. The question first appeared on a web forum, Mashable reports, and after recently resurfacing, it’s been perplexing adults across social media.

According to the original poster AlmondShell, the bonus question was given to primary one, or first grade students, in Singapore. It instructs readers to “study the number pattern” and “fill in the missing numbers.” The puzzle, which comprises five numbers and four empty circles waiting to be filled in, comes with no further explanation.

Some forum members commented with their best guesses, while others expressed disbelief that this was a question on a kid’s exam. Commenter karrotguy illustrates one possible answer: Instead of looking for complex math equations, they saw that the figure in the middle circle (three) equals the amount of double-digit numbers in the surrounding quadrants (18, 10, 12). They filled out the puzzle accordingly.

A similar problem can be found on the blog of math enthusiast G.R. Burgin. His solution, which uses simple algebra, gets a little more complicated.

The math tests given to 6- and 7-year-olds in other parts of the world aren’t much easier. If your brain isn’t too worn out after the last one, check out this maddening problem involving trains assigned to students in the UK.

[h/t Mashable]