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  • New Home for ‘After Deadline’
    Our weekly feature on grammar, usage and style in The Times has moved to a new blog address.
  • Tangled Passages
    This week, a guest essay from my colleague Patrick LaForge on a perennial problem — leads (and other sentences) that tax readers’ patience:
  • Too Many Hyphens
    Hyphens can clarify a phrase and are sometimes crucial to the meaning. But if we sprinkle them heedlessly where they’re not called for, the effect is distracting at best and can be confusing.
  • Words We Love Too Much
    Colleagues have taken note of several words or phrases that seem to be cropping up everywhere all at once.
  • One Kudo, Two Kudos?
    In noting a recent rash of “bona fides” in our prose, I pointed out that writers often treat the expression as plural, though in fact the Latin phrase is singular (“good faith”).
  • Problems in the Plural
    There’s a certain grammatical error. It irks me. In fact, it’s one of many things that have that quality in common. They are all things that irk me.
  • Latin Words We Love Too Much
    In 1990, the phrase “bona fides” appeared four times in The Times, according to our archive: three times in editorials and once in Sports. Last year we used the term — a Latin phrase meaning “good faith” — 93 times, and we’re on a similar pace this year, with 36 uses so far.
  • Word to Watch: ‘Advocate’
    My colleague Mark Bulik points out an oddly oxymoronic construction that has been popping up lately: “an anti-[blank] advocate.” It’s like saying, “He supports opposing it.” Just a few of many recent examples:
  • Bright Passages
    After months of nonstop carping about our missteps, here's the latest, long-overdue sampling of sparkling prose from recent editions. Nominations are always welcome.
  • Spell-Check: Still No Help
    After my recent lineup of sound-alike mix-ups, sharp-eyed readers and colleagues quickly offered examples to refill the file folder. The latest:
  • Courtesy and History
    The Times's use or omission of courtesy titles in referring to dead people is an occasional source of confusion. Some readers (and some writers) mistakenly think that once anyone dies, we automatically and immediately stop using Mr., Ms. or Mrs. We don’t. Other readers have the misimpression that retaining or omitting the courtesy title is based on some moral judgment. It isn’t.
  • When Spell-Check Can’t Help
    I’ve held off for a while, but the sound-alike mix-up file is starting to overflow. Here are the latest lapses involving similar-seeming words — some new problems and some familiar ones. And some, frankly, that are pretty embarrassing.
  • More Words We Love Too Much
    After Deadline’s relentless cliché watch continues, thanks to Patrick LaForge and some other sharp-eyed colleagues. In deadline haste, sometimes it’s hard to avoid falling back on a familiar stockpile of words and phrases. But let’s stay alert and not write on autopilot. And copy editors — help those harried writers out.
  • Trouble With ‘As’ and ‘Than’
    It’s surprising how often we stumble over constructions involving comparisons with “as” or “than.” This is a case where reading aloud (even reading “aloud” to yourself) may save you from a misstep. These lapses are easy to miss by eye but are more obvious to the ear.
  • Words We Love Too Much
    My colleague Patrick LaForge remains on the prowl for clichés — particularly the clichés of journalese, employed primarily by journalists reaching for the quick and easy phrase on deadline.