Verbatim is no longer publishing. However, this is a fan site dedicated to the legacy of Verbatim. Please enjoy the archives we were able to find and share with you all!

What’s Verbatim? Verbatim is a magazine devoted to what is amusing, interesting, and engaging about the English language and languages in general. We strive to bring fascinating topics out of the dusty obscurity of dry linguistic scholarship and polish them up for the general reader with an intelligent interest in language. We gently poke fun at the messes people can get into with English and the misunderstandings that arise from our common language. All this, plus a generous helping of book reviews, should provide an hour or two’s diversion for the person interested in language.

VERBATIM Online Issues

VERBATIM Articles, Book Reviews, News

Word Words

Jon O. Newman United States Circuit Judge We need some new words to describe words. English already has several well known -onym words (from the Greek onyma meaning 'name'), such as synonym (same meaning), antonym (opposite meaning), and homonym (same sound). Less...

Slayer Slang (Part 1)

by Michael Adams Albright College Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS), a recent teen television hit, coins slang terms and phrases in nearly every episode, many of them formed in the usual ways, some of them at the crest of new formative tendencies, and some of them...

Pairing Pairs

I got a call this morning from someone who had picked up the VERBATIM book and needed one of the answers in Larry Urdang's Pairing Pairs explained. Which I did (possibly even to his satisfaction) ... but that motivated me to put up a link to Pairing Pairs here on the...

You’ve Got Game!

It's almost time for holiday shopping, so we've collated SIX YEARS of Gloria Rosenthal's "You've Got Game" game reviews here in one humongous blog post for you! Here are all the games she's reviewed -- have...

The Twelve Days of Christmas

We're not quite at the "partridge in a pear tree" stage of the month yet, but I thought you might all enjoy this review, by Larry Urdang, of Thomas L. Bernard's The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Mystery and The Meaning, from Vol. XXI/3: Professor Bernard, who teaches...

BONA PALARE: the Language of Round the Horne

Some historians of comedy argue that Round The Horne, a BBC sketch show broadcast between 1965 and 1968, prolonged the life of radio as a major medium of entertainment in the UK, at a time when TV was rapidly establishing its regrettable hegemony. Certainly, RTH was...

Authors and Articles Vol XXV

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXV1Cates, David C.Where Did He Put the Pen of My Aunt? Navajo Revealed XXV1May, PeteBritish Football Chants XXV1Murphy, M. LynneExcerpts from the Baylor College Linguistics Scavenger Hunt XXV1Ronnick, Michele ValerieFrom...

I, quartz pyx, who fling mud beds.

[photo by mharrsch, of an ivory (not a quartz) pyx]Interested in holo-alphabetic sentences? Think you would be, but aren't sure what they are? Then you might want to check out Russell Slocum's article from Vol. II/4, newly digital here....

Authors and Articles Vol XXVI

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXVI1Urdang, LaurenceToday's Lesson XXVI1Humez, NickClassical Blather (Silly Songs) XXVI1Considine, JohnTwelve Notes on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary XXVI1Baldwin, BarryAs the Word Turns (Where Do They Come From?)...

Authors and Articles Vol XX

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XX1Ayto, JohnThe Titled Proletariat XX1Bailey, BelRoundabout East Anglia XX1Tius, Mary M.Vestiges XX1Ingleson, SharonFuture Difficulties XX1Herman, Louis JayWhat's in an Article? XX1Balado-Lopez, DanielDeveloping...

Noun Overuse Phenomenon Article

Bruce D. Price Word-Wise New York, New York Have you noticed a new "clunk-clunk" sound in the English language? Phrases such as "patient starter package" for sample? "Drug dosage forms" for pills? "Health cause" for sickness? "Increased labor market participation...

Preposition Pollution

Foreigners trying to learn English often have more trouble with our prepositions than with any other feature. But I see and hear so many awkward uses of prepositions lately that I think we all have more trouble with them than with any other feature--and more trouble...

All about All

In the movie Spartacus,1 the Roman general, Crassus, ensures the cooperation of the slave dealer, Batiatus, by making him the following promise: "I authorize you to be the agent for the sale of all survivors." When Crassus wins the final battle and orders that all...

Darn, Durn, Down, Doon, Damn

Dwight Bolinger Professor of Linguistics Emeritus Harvard University Minced oaths are etymological landmines, and if I were a better guesstymologist I probably would not tread on this one; but if it is a coincidence it is too good to be true, so here goes....

Identity and Language in the SM Scene

For the past seven years, I have been studying the process of identity formation among SM/radical-sex practitioners living in and around New York City, in preparation for my doctoral thesis in cultural anthropology. Among the first things that I noticed when I started...

New issue on the way!

Vol. 32 No. 1 is making its way to the printer tomorrow; check out the table of contents for the new issue:Are Prepositions Necessary? by Rosemarie OstlerHanky-Panky, Hugger-Mugger, and Other Reduplicative Rhyming Compounds, by Amy Shuffelton and Jessy RandallThe...

DARE-More Than Halfway There

Dictionary of American Regional English Because logophiles regularly ask about the progress of the Dictionary of American Regional English (familiarly known as DARE), I'd like to take the opportunity of VERBATIM's rebirth to bring you all up to date. First, let me...

Letters, We Get Letters

One of my favorite parts of VERBATIM has always been the letters to the editor. They're often more like bite-size articles than like traditional letters to the editor. This one, below, was the first letter in Volume I, No. 1, from Eric Hamp. Dear Sir:People often...

Letter Writing Made Easy!

Letter Writing Made Easy! Featuring sample letters for hundreds of common occasions! Letter Writing Made Easy! Vol. 2: Featuring more sample letters for hundreds of common occasions! Both by Margaret McCarthy, 206 pp., Santa Monica, Santa Monica Press, 1998. ISBN...

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