CLOSE

Niche Blogs: The English Language

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.

Punctuation

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.

Print

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.

Words

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.

twitterbanner.jpg

nextArticle.image_alt|e
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Animals
India Now Has a Private Ambulance Service Just for Cows
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

In India, where the majority of residents are Hindu, the cow is sacred. Just how sacred? So sacred that one state recently launched a private ambulance service for injured cattle.

According to The Guardian, the ambulance service in Uttar Pradesh was launched by Keshav Prasad, the state’s deputy chief minister. While it has the support of the government, it’s not a state-funded enterprise. It’s paid for by an NGO called the Gau Vansh Raksha trust, which operates several gaushalas, or animal shelters specifically aimed at housing old and unwanted cows to protect them from slaughter. (The Indian government also runs its own gaushalas, paying for the cows’ upkeep through state funds.)

The trust launched five ambulances in May 2017, and received hundreds of calls within the first week of operation. The ambulances are equipped with sirens and basic surgery supplies and are run by volunteers.

Though India has a secular government, more than a dozen Indian states have banned the slaughter of cattle out of deference to the Hindu majority. The laws are controversial for the country's beef-eating Christian and Muslim populations (who also make up the bulk of the country's large cattle-export industry), however. The same month the service launched, the Indian government instituted a full ban on selling cows for slaughter. The ban is currently on hold while India’s Supreme Court rules on whether or not it is constitutional.

[h/t The Guardian]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Hieronymus Bosch / Hieronymus Bosch Work Memes
6 Niche Blogs You Should Read
Hieronymus Bosch / Hieronymus Bosch Work Memes
Hieronymus Bosch / Hieronymus Bosch Work Memes

We know you have a few blogs you go to every day for general information, news, and entertainment, and we’re glad that mental_floss is one of them. But every once in a while, you want to branch out to something new and different, something really crazy and good for a laugh. These single-subject blogs with a very narrow focus just might be what you’re looking for.

1. DEPRESSING FRIDGE POEMS

Rusty Epstein has a set of refrigerator word magnets, and he’s not afraid to use them. His word combinations are not the cheery, uplifting phrases your mom puts up for everyone to see; they are Depressing Fridge Poems. They are so sad, they will most likely make you laugh, at least a little. Then you’ll feel bad about laughing.

2. THE SETUP WIZARD

Here’s a blog that tech workers and Harry Potter fans alike will enjoy. The Setup Wizard puts those workers in the world of Harry Potter by giving us a first-person account of a Muggle IT guy named Jonathan Dart who works at Hogwarts. "It took them until 2016," he writes, "but both students and staff alike have finally caved and demanded that their cell phones work on school grounds, and with that request they had to find a 'muggle' (a term I’m quickly learning to detest) to install wifi and maintain any technology that functions on school grounds." He rolls his eyes at the students and professors who think a little magic will make everything all right, when the magic actually tends to make things worse. You can read the saga so far in chronological order, and then keep up with new entries in blog order.

3. EATS LIKE A DUCK

There’s been a lot of food featured on The Simpsons in its more than two decades on the air. Eats Like a Duck features those foods one at a time, with references to the episode a particular food appeared in and recipes that will allow a reader to make it. For example, in the episode “Homerpalooza” (season 7), Homer tries to sneak homemade Kahlua into a concert. (It's not the best idea—as the blogger behind Eats Like a Duck notes, "The stifling heat of an outdoor concert just doesn’t really pair well with the sweet coffee flavor of Kahlua, homemade or store bought.") Other recipes on the site include Bart’s Grilled Twizzlers, A Cool Glass of Turnip Juice, Blandoori, Clove Tom Collins Pie, and, of course, The Flaming Homer.

4. BOWIEBRANCHIA

Nudibranchs are ocean mollusks that come in a huge variety of shapes and colors. David Bowie was a music and art icon who, over the course of his career, flaunted a lot of colorful and creative looks. The Tumblr blog Bowiebranchia matches Bowie’s looks with a nudibranch.

5. HIERONYMUS BOSCH WORK MEMES

Do you ever feel that being at work is like one of the gory, torturous details in a Hieronymus Bosch painting? You know, like The Garden of Earthly Delights? The blog Hieronymus Bosch Work Memes knows that feeling, and will come up with an image macro that puts those feelings into words. (Note: Some images may be NSFW.) You’ll find an archive of older posts at the blog’s previous address.

6. HRH MARVIN, #THEROYALHAMSTER

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, have a hamster named Marvin. That inspired Christine Frazier to imagine Marvin leading the wonderful life of a royal hamster. She posts her illustrations at her new blog called HRH Marvin, #TheRoyalHamster. It contains pictures of the royal family in the news, and then Frazier's drawings of Marvin living out that image with a little narration, often wearing the same fashions as in the news image. Above, you see Marvin playing polo in the style of the Princes William and Harry, although you will more often see him in Kate Middleton’s newsworthy fashions.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios