The Week: Most Recent from Ben Yagoda recent posts.en-usFri, 11 Jul 2014 08:35:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent from Ben Yagoda from THE WEEKFri, 11 Jul 2014 08:35:00 -04007 language habits that reveal your age<img src="" /></P><p>The psychologist Steven Pinker was once quoted as saying that the best way to tell if someone was under 30 was if they were comfortable using "fun" as an adjective.</p><p>About 15 years later, that still seems on target. The farther away in the rear-view mirror 45 is for you, the odder it seems to hear something like "his party was funner than hers." And the younger you are, the more it seems perfectly normal.</p><p>In my new e-book, <em>You Need to Read This: The Death of the Imperative Mode, the Rise of American Glottal Stop, the Bizarre Popularity of "Amongst," and Other Cuckoo Things That Have Happened to...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ben-yagoda" ><span class="byline">Ben Yagoda</span></a>Fri, 11 Jul 2014 08:35:00 -04007 words guaranteed to make you a better writer<img src="" /></P><p>I just published a 175-page book called <em>How to Not Write Bad.</em><em>&nbsp;</em>It will set you back $15, plus tax. But I am here to tell you that if you master just seven words, you will not only not write bad: you'll write good, er, <em>well</em>. (And in fact, there are only six words; one of them is repeated.)</p><p>The catch is that these words &mdash; and the three bolded sentences they compose &mdash; aren't easy to fully grasp. But if you do, you are good to go &mdash; I guarantee it.</p><p><strong>Read.</strong></p><p>Almost without exception, good writers read widely and frequently. By osmosis, they unconsciously learn an incalculable amount...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ben-yagoda" ><span class="byline">Ben Yagoda</span></a>Mon, 25 Mar 2013 08:25:00 -04007 grammar rules you really should pay attention to<img src="" /></P><p>I recently wrote an article for <em></em> about bogus grammar "rules" that aren't worth your time. However, there are still plenty of legitimate rules that you <em>should</em> be aware of. Not following them doesn't make you a bad person or even (necessarily) a bad writer. I'm sure that all of them were broken at one point or another by Henry James, Henry Adams, or some other major author named Henry. Moreover, grammar is one of the least pressing problems when it comes to the poor state of writing today. In my new book, <em>How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ben-yagoda" ><span class="byline">Ben Yagoda</span></a>Thu, 14 Mar 2013 08:50:00 -04007 bogus grammar 'errors' you don't need to worry about<img src="" /></P><p>When it comes to the English language, I'm not an anything-goes kind of guy. If I were, I wouldn't have written a book called&nbsp;<em>How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Errors and the Best Ways to Avoid Them.</em>&nbsp;It's just that I hate to see people waste their time hunting down so-called mistakes that really aren't mistakes at all. So consider this a public-service announcement in the wake of Monday's National Grammar Day. Here are seven rules you really (really!) don't have to worry about following.</p><p><strong>1. Don't split infinitives</strong><br />The rule against splitting infinitives &mdash; that is, putting...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ben-yagoda" ><span class="byline">Ben Yagoda</span></a>Tue, 05 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500