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

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...

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...

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....

A Bawdy Language

A Bawdy Language: How A Second-Rate Language Slept Its Way to the Top, by Howard Richler, Stoddart, 1999. ISBN: 0-7737-3186-5. 208 pp. $15.95/£9.86 As you might guess from the title, A Bawdy Language is a rather irreverent and almost relentlessly topical romp through...

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...

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...

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...

Graphic Account

As code, is how the alphabet Began in use. Visible ink. Cuneiform, which few regret, Did everything most people think Essential in a writing system For three millennia of sale, Gift, loan-could number, name, and list them, Hard copy, should agreement fail. It was so...

Yet Another Quick Post

We had some more requests for back articles this week, so two more are available to read online:Preposition Pollution, by Barbara DuBois, and Up and Down to You, by John Musgrave.An easy way to see the few articles we have available in html is to check out the Table...

Laurence Urdang, Founding Editor

Laurence Urdang, VERBATIM's founding editor and one of the most prolific lexicographers of the English language, died August 21, in Connecticut.Here is the link to The New York Times obituary; Ben Zimmer posts about Larry on Language Log; and I think the best obituary...

Believe it or Not

A new issue! Several, in fact, but here's the Table of Contents for the first of the new issues:Qat in Yemen Gregory Johnson Three Limericks Max Gutmann Cuckoo for Crack Mark Peters My Genetic Code Louis Phillips User-Friendly Turkish Martin Gani Linguistic Larceny:...

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...

VERBATIM, Summer 1999 Vol. 24 No. 3

Slayer Slang (Part 1) - The marvellous slang uses and inventions of the popular TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. by Michael Adams Identity and Language in the SM Scene - The importance of language in forming identity, and some misunderstandings that can arise. . . by...

Fun Things to Say in Spanish, French & English

Joseph K. Slap Los Angeles, California There are many people from Spanish-speaking nations here in southern California. It’s fun, for me and for them, to converse in Spanish. Those people get a big grin from my non-rhyming poem, in Spanish. I tell the people, "Quando...

Authors and Articles Vol XXIV

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XXIV1Rawson, HughBowderlism in the Barnyard XXIV1Sampson, Paul J.Airspeak XXIV1Pratt, Daniel L.A Brief History of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD) XXIV1Galef, DavidHow To Speak Like A Corporation XXIV1Humez,...

Verbal Analogies Answers

Here are the answers to http://www.verbatimmag.com/verbal243.html 1. Platyrrhinian 2. Prothonotary 3. White(smith) 4. Glyptotheca 5. Curtilage 6. Salade 7. Rotula 8. Lagostoma 9. Milvine 10. Sciatheric 11. Acadian 12. Tocsin 13. Quasimodo (Sunday) 14. Rogation...

It’s All Double Janglish to Me!

Every Monday on my way to pottery class in a neighboring part of Tokyo I pass a shop selling casual clothes that has an unforgettable name : "Horse Shit." I’m not sure whether it’s ignorance or wit on the part of the shop’s owner, but I always chuckle when I see it...

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 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...

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