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.

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.

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July 29, 2010 - 1:20pm
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