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

Classical Blather

What is so rare as a day in June? And what is so common asa rhyme for it? Speakers of English through the century seem tohave delighted in the sound of the double o, rotund and warm,gently terminating in the soft glide of the n "as if it wereloath to cease."1 Popular...

Winter 2000 Back Issue

Where Did He Put The Pen of My Aunt? Navajo Revealed David C. Cates Maplewood, New Jersey Intricate miracles underlie even ordinary events like sunshine, eyesight, and air. Yet their ordinariness seems to stifle the kindling of wonder. This may be the point of a...

Authors and Articles Vol XXIII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXIII1Schindler, Marc A.(Dia)critic's Corner XXIII1Richler, HowardGalling Gallicisms of Quebec English XXIII1Temianka, DanielThe King of Wordsmiths XXIII1Davidson, J. A.The Problem of Names XXIII1Crilly, JosephineTurning To...

Welcoming Mark Peters

We're happy to announce that Mark Peters has joined VERBATIM as a Contributing Editor. Mark is a frequent contributor to VERBATIM, and a language columnist for the parenting website Babble, as well as writing for American Speech, The Chronicle of Higher Education,...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

Authors and Articles Vol XXVII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXVII1Hargraves, OrinRendering the Language of Daad XXVII1Eskenazi, GeraldUnexpected Surprises XXVII1Galef, DavidA Column on Columns XXVII1Wood, D. RussThe Slang of the Day XXVII1Powell, SteveFancy a Viking, Sooty?...

Authors and Articles Volume XIII

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XIII1Kahn, John EllisonPolysemania, Semantic Taint, and Related Conditions XIII1Lazerson, Barbara HuntPatterned Words and Phrases XIII1Queenan, JoeWhen Everything Was Everything XIII1Hirschberg, StephenPlaying Words with...

Review of A Feminist Dictionary

Review of A Feminist Dictionary, by Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler Where to begin? With the unpleasant little entry for lexicographer? With the nasty piece on dictionary? with the inaccurate definition of grammar? the somewhat silly entry at language? It is...

SIC! SIC! SIC!

Inclimate Weather Affects Defense the Most "You try to go in the gym and emulate as many activities as you can, but it’s still not the same." State College coach Jeff Kissell, in the State College Daily News, March 30, 1999. [Submitted by Bill Simon III, State...

Widows, Orphans, and ?–Semantic Holes

Sol Saporta University of Washington (retired) In lectures delivered in Japan in 1987, Noam Chomsky discussed the notion of a ‘conceptual framework’ which he proposed as ‘a common human property’ He suggested that ‘the concepts . . . are available, independently of...

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