The Web of Language

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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news
Results for "January, 2011"

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  • AT&T says it's a person under the law and should enjoy the right to personal privacy. What's wrong with this picture?

    AT&T wants us to believe that corporations are people, just like you and me, and that just like us, they have a constitutional right to privacy. Their case, argued before the Supreme Court last week, hinges in part on the relationship between an adjective and the noun it derives from. To prove their point, AT&T wants us to look both at the law and at the dictionary.

  • The government does not control your grammar

    Despite the claims of mass murderers and freepers, the government does not control your grammar. The government has no desire to control your grammar, and even if it did, it has no mechanism for exerting control: the schools, which are an arm of government, have proved singularly ineffective in shaping students' grammar. Plus every time he opened his mouth, Pres. George W. Bush proved that the government can't even control its own grammar.