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

Authors and Articles Vol XV

Authors and Articles VolumeNumberAuthorTitle XV1Lederer, RichardGunning for the English Language XV1Bria, GeorgeDuende: Gypsy Soul and Something More XV1Bauerle, RichardThe Expanding Lexicon of One-letter Words XV1Davidson, J.A.The Joy of Scottish English: Chambers...

SIC! SIC! SIC!

SIC! SIC! SIC! is a regular feature of every issue, in which we rely on readers to send us funny errors made in (thank goodness) other publications. (And those on signs, in form letters, etc., etc. We're capable of finding the funny errors in our own publication...

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...

Verbal Analogies

Dr. P.A. Pomfret 1. Long, narrow : Leptorrhinian :: Broad, Thick : ? (13) 2. Cival : Papal :: Registrar : ? (12) 3. Iron : Black :: Tin : ? (5) 4. Books : Bibliotheca :: Sculpture : ? (11) 5. Gristle : Cartilage :: Grounds of a House : ? (9) 6. Cold vegetable dish :...

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...

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...

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...

Epistolae 243

While reading William Dougherty’s article "Bromides" (XXIV/1) about the reluctance that physicians exhibit in speaking frankly about their patients’ life-threatening conditions, using euphemisms and circumlocutions, I remembered an experience I had that illustrates...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Darn!

I was thinking of Dwight Bolinger the other day (as you do) and remembered that he had written a very nice short article about "Darn!" for VERBATIM back in the day. Enjoy!...

Crossword #104 Answers

If you were missing the answers to Crossword #104 in XXXI/1, you're not the only one! Click here for them, which I know you're only using to check your own answers, right?

Byte Bonding, Bit-bangers, and BLOBS

The mechanisms involved in the processes of word formation have been well documented by linguists; the wit, creativity, imagination and ingenuity displayed by the vernacular is inexhaustible. Magazines and newspapers, songs and screenplays all yield innumerable gems....

VERBATIM
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