Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

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By: QuickAndDirtyTips.com

Five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing and feed your love of the English language. Whether English is your first language or your second language, these grammar, punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer. Grammar Girl is a Quick and Dirty Tips podcast.

Why the heck does 'score' mean 20? How we subconsciously know how to pronounce different plurals.
#929
Last Tuesday at 9:00 AM

929. While we were looking into why we use the word "score" to mean "twenty," our minds were blown by how many languages still have remnants of a base-20 counting system. And then we learned the secret rules that explain why some plurals end with an "s" sound and others end with a "z" sound. It was quite a week!

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/score-dogz/transcript

| The "score" segment was written by Susan K. Herman,  a retired U.S. Government multidisciplined language analyst, analytic editor, and language instructor.

| The "Cats and Dogz" se...


Why English is the best language for Wordle, with Lynne Murphy
#928
05/16/2023

928. Listen to the interview that got me playing Wordle again. Lynne Murphy shared all sorts of things you probably didn't know about this game!

Lynne Murphy is professor of linguistics at the University of Sussex in England, the author of the book "The Prodigal Tongue," and the writer of the long-running Separated by a Common Language blog.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/wordle/transcript

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It's all uphill from here (or is that downhill?). Eating like a pig (animal idioms).
#927
05/09/2023

927. Whether you're a bird brain or a wise old owl, you'll love this week's episode as we fight an uphill battle to understand a language filled with metaphors.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/uphill-animals/transcript

| The "Uphill/Downhill" segment was written by Samantha Enslen, an award-winning writer who runs the writing and editing agency Dragonfly Editorial. You can find her at dragonflyeditorial.com.

| The "Animal Idioms" segment was written by Valerie Fridland, a professor of linguistics at the University of Nevada in Reno and the author of "Like Literally, Dude: Arguing for the...


What's wrong with 'there are' sentences? 5 fun facts about Spanish for Cinco de Mayo
#926
05/02/2023

926. You may remember being told not to start sentences with "there are," but do you know why? We have the answer! Plus, for Cinco de Mayo, we have five fun facts about Spanish.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/expletives-spanish/transcript

| The "Five Fun Facts About Spanish" segment was written by Susan Herman, a former linguist, analytic editor, and language instructor for the U.S. Government.

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Have you begged the question lately? What kind of learning is best: online, remote, distance, or virtual?
#925
04/25/2023

925. The existence of the manchineel tree does NOT beg the question of how many different ways a tree can actually hurt you. But it does show that you can't always use taste to tell whether something is safe to eat. Plus, Online, Remote, Distance, and Virtual. What Kind of Learning Do You Like?

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/begs-the-question/transcript

| The "Online, Remote, Distance, and Virtual Learning" segment was written by Brenda Thomas, who has also worked as an online educator and instructional designer of online courses.

| Subscribe to the newsletter for re...


What we get wrong about 'um' and 'uh,' with Valerie Fridland
#924
04/18/2023

924. What if I told you that you actually should use "uh" and "um" when you're giving a talk? And what if I told you "dude" was originally an anti-masculine word? Those are just some of the surprising insights from Valerie Fridland's new book, "Like, Literally, Dude."

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/valerie-fridland/transcript

| Get Valerie's book, "Like, Literally, Dude."

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

| VOICEMA...


5 things every writer wants to learn, with Roy Peter Clark
#923
04/11/2023

923. America's writing coach, Roy Peter Clark, shares his wisdom about the five things every writer he's ever taught wants to learn.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/roy-peter-clark/transcript

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

| VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) or https://sayhi.chat/grammargirl

| Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network.

Audio engineer: Nathan SemesEditor: Adam CecilAdvertising Operations Specialist: Morgan...


Killer bunnies in medieval manuscripts. The strange rules of 'dozen.'
#922
04/04/2023

922. "A dozen of eggs" sounds weird, but why? Rabbits performing violent acts are a common scene in medieval marginalia. But why are they there? Turns out‚ÄĒMonty Python was on to something!

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/dozen-bunnies/transcript

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

| VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) or https://sayhi.chat/grammargirl

| Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast n...


The Rosetta Stone and taxes. Is your sufficiency suffonsified?
#921
03/28/2023

921. Taxes, and the words for them, go back all the way to ancient Egypt. Plus, I have much more to tell you about the phrase "I am sufficiently suffoncified"! It's an especially fun week on the Grammar Girl podcast.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/taxes-suffonsified/transcript

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

| WRITER: Mignon Fogarty

| VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) or https://sayhi.chat/grammargirl

...


Why we have both 'a' and 'an.' What does it mean to be lonely? Sufficiency.
#920
03/21/2023

920. Once you start thinking about it, it's weird that we have both "a" and "an." It gets even weirder from there! Plus, modern loneliness, and its solutions, are quite different from what they were when the word was first coined. We look at the history of this formerly rare word.

The segment on "a" versus "an" was written by Neal Whitman, an independent writer and consultant specializing in language and grammar and a member of the Reynoldsburg, Ohio, school board. You can search for him by name on Facebook, or find him on his blog at literalminded...


How 'napron' became 'apron' (and what that has to do with newts). 'Ahold' or 'a hold'?
#919
03/14/2023

919. Rebracketing is a fascinating process that gives us more words than you might imagine, even words from French and Spanish! Also, I find a surprising answer to the question of which is correct: "ahold" or "a hold."

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/napron-ahold/transcript

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| Grammar...


Why do people 'drop' a new single? How to pronounce 'often.'
#918
03/07/2023

918.  Since "drop" can mean both "to release" and "to cancel," it can get confusing. We look at how this confusion came to  be (and how to avoid it). Plus, we wade into the debate about whether there's a right or a wrong way to pronounce "often."

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/drop-often/transcript

The "often" segment was written by Edwin Battistella and originally appeared on the OUP Blog. Read the original here.

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How to actually improve your grammar. Why parallelism is important (and how to use it). Keycoos.
#917
02/28/2023

917.  For National Grammar Day, we answer one of the most common questions I get: How can I improve my grammar? Plus, I explain why parallelism is important, especially in resume writing.

"How to improve you grammar" was written by Susan Herman, a retired U.S. government analytic editor, language analyst, and language instructor.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/improve-your-grammar/transcript

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How writing very short stories can improve all your writing (with Grant Faulkner)
#916
02/21/2023

916. Grant Faulkner, author of "The Art of Brevity" and executive director of NaNoWriMo talks with us about how writing very short stories can improve all your writing. (And whether it's worth it to get an MFA these days.)

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/grant-faulkner/transcript

| Grant's Website: https://grantfaulkner.com/

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| VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) or https://sayhi.chat/grammar...


Language Reveals Universal Truths About Love. 'Wool Sweater' or 'Woolen Sweater'?
#915
02/14/2023

913. Love is much more than romance, and different languages reveal universal truths about the different kinds of love. Plus, we look at whether you should write about wool sweaters or woolen sweaters, silk blouses or silken blouses, wood benches or wooden benches. Is it actually OK to use nouns as adjectives?

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/kinds-of-love/transcript

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Interview with a creator of 'Schoolhouse Rock'!
#914
02/07/2023

914. To mark the 50th anniversary of "Schoolhouse Rock," the Saturday morning cartoon that taught millions of children about grammar, math, and more, we have a special multi-interview podcast, including memories from George Newall, one of the creators of the show.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/schoolhouse-rock/transcript

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| HOSTS: Mignon Fogarty & Holly Hutchings

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| Grammar...


What Does the AP Have Against France? Out Over Your Skis. Lands' End. Tolater.
#913
01/31/2023

913. This week brought us a silly kerfuffle in which the AP may have insulted France. Plus, we investigate the origin of the phrase "out over your skis" and why the apostrophe seems wrong in the company name Lands' End.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/the-french/transcript

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

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| Grammar Girl is part of...


Teddy Bears. The Brothers Grimm. Danger Cluck.
#912
01/24/2023

912. We look at who the Teddy is in "teddy bears" and reveal why the Brothers Grimm, from fairytales, were also massively important in linguistics.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/teddy-bears/transcript

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| VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) or https://sayhi.chat/grammargirl

| Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network.

Audio engineer: Nathan SemesEditor: Adam CecilAd...


Weird punctuation with 'Jr.' Carl's Jr. Hockey.
#911
01/17/2023

911. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we cover a bunch of interesting things about labels such as "Jr.," "Sr.," and "III." Plus, we look at the origin of the names Carl's Jr. and Ruth's Chris Steak house.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/comma-before-jr/transcript

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

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| Grammar Girl is part of...


Inflation, quiet quitting, and "un-" words, like "undressed," that can have two meanings. Gotcha Day.
#910
01/10/2023

910. The final Grammar Girl word-of-the-year vote came down to "inflation" and "quiet quitting." We look at the interesting arguments voters made for both. Plus, we look at why some words that start with "un-" mean "not" and others mean "reversed"‚ÄĒ and about the especially interesting words that can mean either (and why).

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/2022-woty/transcript

"Un-" Words Segment

Written by Edwin L. Battistella, author of "Dangerous, Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President, from Washington to Trump."This segment originally appeared on the OUP blog and appears here with permission.

| Subs...


How COVID Changed the Way We Think About Words. How to Write Dates. Prefeed.
#909
01/03/2023

909. In honor of 2023, we’ll talk about writing dates. And then we talk about a fascinating study about how COVID has changed the way we think about certain words.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/writing-dates/transcript

COVID Words Segment

Written by Valerie Fridland. Reference: Kleinman D, Morgan AM, Ostrand R, Wittenberg E (2022) Lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on language processing. PLoS ONE 17(6): e0269242.

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World Cup Words. The Origin of Toasting. Says.
#908
12/27/2022

908. You had word-related questions after watching the World Cup. We have answers! And for the holidays, we look at the origin of toasting with wine (and why it actually IS related to toasted bread).

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/world-cup-words/transcript

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

| VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4475) or https://sayhi.chat/grammargirl

| Grammar Girl is part of the Quick and Dirty T...


Goblin Mode, Woman, & More. Words of the Year, with Kory Stamper
#907
12/20/2022

907. The fabulous Kory Stamper, author of "Word by Word," joins me this week to talk about words of the year: how they get chosen, what makes each one different, and what people yearn for in their words of the year.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/words-or-the-year/transcript

My guest is Kory Stamper, author of "Word by Word, the Secret Life of Dictionaries."

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The Wonderful Words of Christmas
#906
12/13/2022

906. ¬†A'wassailing. Noel. Mistletoe. Trolling the ancient Yuletide carol, and more. We look into the wonderful words of Christmas and their origins ‚ÄĒ as delightful as a Christmas cookie. You'll be shouting "drink-hail!" forevermore.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/wonderful-words-of-christmas/transcript

The first segment was written by Kate Burridge and Howard Manns from Monash University. It appears here through a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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We found the book!
#905
12/06/2022

905.  Bonus Episode! You helped solve the mystery of my father's favorite childhood book. I also share quick and dirty tips from my email newsletter, my favorite social media posts, and some of my favorite products (one of which isn't a product at all).

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/we-found-the-book/transcript

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What's a Honeyfuggler? 'Through' vs. 'Throughout.' Arriversary.
#904
12/02/2022

903.  "Through" and "throughout" may seem interchangeable, but they're not. We have some creative memory tricks to help you remember the difference. Plus, we have fun with the word "honeyfuggler."

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/what-is-a-honeyfuggler/transcript

| Ragan Advanced AP Style Webinar

The "through" segment was written by Ryan Paulsen who is an avid word nerd and co-host of the etymology podcast "Lexitecture.

The "honeyfuggler" segment was written by Edwin L. Battistella, who teaches linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he has served as a dean and as...


A Strange Use of 'Said.' Kith and Kin. New Scrabble Words!
#903
11/25/2022

903. A listener heard some jargon, and then got annoyed by "said" jargon, so we explored why.  Plus, who the heck are your kith? And finally, we got excited about the first new Scrabble words since 2018.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/a-strange-use-of-said/transcript

| Ragan Advanced AP Style Webinar

| Merriam-Webster Scrabble Website

The "said" segment was written by Susan K. Herman, a former editor, language analyst, and language instructor for the U.S. Government.

The "kith" segment was written by Samantha Enslen, who runs Dragonfly Editorial. You can find her at...


Why Today's 'Thank You' Is Different from an Ancient 'Thank You.' Gerunds.
#902
11/18/2022

902. Language reflects culture, so it's no surprise that giving thanks hundreds of years ago was different from giving thanks today. We have the fascinating history. Plus, since "Thanksgiving" is a gerund, we looked at all the interesting things you can do with gerunds in general.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/thank-you-history/transcript

The Thanksgiving history segment was written by Valerie Fridland, a professor of linguistics at the University of Nevada in Reno and the author of the forthcoming book, "Like, Literally Dude," about all the speech habits we love to hate. You can find he...


WWII Words. A 'bit' of an Issue. Kleenex.
#901
11/11/2022

901. WWII spawned a bunch of new words, including "boffin" and "bonkers." We'll look into the history of these fun words and more in honor of Veterans Day. Plus, we'll talk about why an Australian called her desk being on fire, "a bit of an issue."

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/wwii-words-a-bit-of-an-issue-kleenex/transcript

| The segment on "a bit" is written by Isabelle Burke, Research Fellow in Linguistics, the Faculty of Arts, Monash University. It originally appeared on Monash Lens and appears here through a Creative Commons license.

| My first WWII word round-up.


The Medieval Origins of the @ Symbol. Hyphens in Dual-Heritage Terms. Pitch.
#900
11/04/2022

900. The story of the @ symbol is much bigger than email. In fact, it was used for hundreds of years before being saved from obscurity by the invention of electronic communication. I explore the medieval origin story of @, plus share a bunch of fun names for it in other languages. Also, many style books recently removed the hyphen from dual-heritage terms like "Asian American," and I explain why in a segment that includes a tribute to former Los Angeles Times editor Henry Fuhrmann.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/where-did-we-get-the-at-symbol/transcript

| Advanced AP Style Webinar, Nov. 9. Use...


The Difference Between Magic and Magick. Some Fascinating Spooky Words. Holy Fagachi!
#899
10/28/2022

899. Believe it or not, "magick" isn't just a funky way of spelling "magic." The two spellings have different meanings. Plus, we look at the unusual origins of other cool words that make us think of Halloween: "haunt," "grave," "mesmerize," and "macabre."

| Segment 1 on "magic" versus "magick" was written by Michaela Dunn.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/magic-versus-magick

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Randall Munroe of xkcd: Language Chat and Weird Bee Laws.
#898
10/21/2022

898. Randall Munroe joined me this week to talk about his language-themed xkcd cartoons, his simple-language project Up Goer V, his biggest pet peeve, his favorite words, and his new book "What If? 2." But I have to confess that my favorite part was his tidbits about the bee laws.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/randall-munroe-of-xkcd

| Buy What If? 2.

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The Subconscious Rules of Conversation. The Double-Word Problem. Cookie Fish.
#897
10/14/2022

897. Have you ever written yourself into a "that that" or a "had had" situation and wondered how you got there? It doesn't mean you're a bad writer! I explain why this happens sometimes and how to best fix it. Also, we talk about the fascinating subconscious rules that guide conversations.

| Transcript:  https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/the-subconscious-rules-of-conversation

| Segment 2 is by Valerie Fridland: Website. Twitter.

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Wick-ED Fun Pronunciations. Deviled Eggs.
#896
10/07/2022

896. If you've ever wondered why we pronounce the "-ed" at the end of "wicked" (and "jagged," "beloved" and more), but don't at the end of words like "aggrieved," this show is for you! You'll also discover why "wicked" is different from "naked" and what's weird about the phrase "wicked witch." Plus, you'll learn why we call some food "deviled."

| Transcript: https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/the-weird-pronunciation-of-wicked

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When Is a Man a Widow? Where Do We Get the Word 'Blurb'? Sci-Fi Versus Fantasy. Bert and Ernie.
#895
09/30/2022

895. A listener asked why he's hearing people refer to men as "widows," and we found a surprising history. Also, I recently mentioned a blurb I wrote, and a reader wanted to know where we get that funny word "blurb."

| Transcript: https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/when-is-a-man-a-widow

| Merriam-Webster "blurb" article.

| Grammar Girl sci-fi versus fantasy article.

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| HOST: Mignon Fogarty

| VOICEMAIL: 833-214-GIRL (833-214-4...


Mood & Atmosphere in Fiction. An Interview with Joshua Essoe
#894
09/23/2022

894. Whether you're getting ready for National Novel Writing Month or just want to watch movies or read novels with more insight, this interview with fiction editor Joshua Essoe will help you about mood and atmosphere in ways you probably haven't considered before.

| Transcript: https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/mood-atmosphere-in-fiction-an-interview-with-joshua-essoe

| Joshua Essoe's website.

| Storybundle book bundles.

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Split Infinitives. I Can't Even. Macken.
#893
09/16/2022

893. You may be surprised by the origin of the split infinitive "rule" and by the times they are OK...or even necessary! Also, we look at slang phrases that drop whole grammatical elements and how they reinforce that in-group/out-group feeling of slang.

| Transcript: https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/split-infinitives

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Why Some People Say 'Might Could.' The Spanish Influence on English. Mickle Story.
#892
09/09/2022

892. We recently got a question about why people use a type of double-verb construction, such as "We might could go to the store." We have the answer! Plus, in honor of the upcoming National Hispanic Heritage Month, we look at the influence Spanish has had on English. You probably know more Spanish words than you realize!

Transcript: https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/why-some-people-say-might-could

"Double Modals" was written by Neal Whitman.
"The Spanish Influence on English" was written by Susan K. Herman

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Accent Hallucination. False Ranges. Thanks, Chris.
#891
09/02/2022

891. Your mind will be blown when you learn about accent hallucination. (Mine was!) And then we'll learn how to avoid false ranges.

Transcript: https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/accent-hallucination-false-ranges

References for the Accent Hallucination segment by Valerie Fridland:

Babel, M., & Russell, J. (2015). Expectations and speech intelligibility.¬†The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America,¬†137(5), 2823‚Äď2833.¬†

Bradlow, A. R., and Bent, T. (2008). Perceptual adaptation to non-native

Speech.¬†Cognition¬†106(2), 707‚Äď729.

Lev-Ari, S., & Keysar, B. (2010). Why don't we believe non-native speakers? the influence of accent on credibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(6), 1093-1096:


'Skrrt,' 'Bottle Episode,' 'Skeuomorphs' and more. An Interview with John Kelly of Dictionary.com.
#890
08/26/2022

890. John Kelly, senior director of editorial at Dictionary.com, talks with Mignon about a bunch of fun new words and about how words get added to the dictionary in general. 

Transcript: https://grammar-girl.simplecast.com/episodes/skrrt-bottle-episode-skeuomorphs

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