Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Hosted ByMignon Fogarty

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.

All Episodes

Efficiency hacks for writers and editors with Erin Brenner

985. Erin Brenner, author of “The Chicago Guide for Freelance Editors,” shares time-saving tips including the best practices for using Word, creating macros, and using automation tools like Zapier. You’ll also learn about starting and growing a freelance business, including how to figure out what to charge, how to make ends meet at the beginning, and how to handle time management once your business starts to succeed.

We found the story behind “whim wham for a mucket”!

985. This week, we look at the world of whimsical words, including the origins and meanings of terms like “dinkus,” “gadzook,” “petrichor” and the phrase “whim-wham for a goose’s bridle.” Plus, I have a quick tip about when to capitalize “mom” and “dad.”

Words, coffee, and urban planning: Eli Burnstein on the Dictionary of Fine Distinctions

984. This week, we talk about the subtle differences between words such as “stock” and “broth,” “street” and “boulevard,” “maze” and “labyrinth” and more with Eli Burnstein, author of “The Dictionary of Fine Distinctions.” Confusion about colors got him started on this path, but along the way, he gained insights into language, culture, and the subtle differences that shape meanings.

Skunked words. The power of pronouns. Quigleys

983. This week, we explore “skunked” words — terms going through hotly disputed meaning changes. We look at the debate between prescriptivists who stick to traditional meanings and descriptivists who accept new usages and what you should do with these words in your own writing. Plus, we learn how using “we” versus “I” alters perceptions of leadership, inclusivity, and status.

Air worms and fire breathing dragons: Old English animal stories with Hana Videen

982. Delve into the fascinating world of Old English with medievalist Hana Videen, author of “The Deorhord.” We’ll uncover the secrets of Old English animal names, from “walking weaver” for spider to the ominous “unland” for a whale’s deceptive island.

When (and How) Should You Cite AI? ‘Critters,’ ‘Varmints,’ and Beyond. Choobers.

981. Major style guides now have advice on when and how you should cite AI chatbots such as ChatGPT, Claude, and Gemini. We look at what you need to include in your writing so you’re handling this kind of information credibly and professionally. Then, we take a linguistic safari through the world of animal terminology, including the histories and nuances behind words such as “critter,” “varmint,” and “beast.”

Exploring the ‘Funnest’ Parts of Language with Anne Curzan

980. This week, I talk with with Anne Curzan about the fascinating world of language evolution, her new book, “Says Who? A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Language,” and why linguists should take marketing tips from Apple and why Ben Franklin thought the word “colonize” was bad.

The birth of punctuation: from oral traditions to silent reading. Noun clusters. A wing wang in a mucket.

979. Explore the fascinating origins of punctuation and how it evolved to shape written language. Plus, learn techniques to untangle confusing noun clusters and bring clarity to your writing.

How to become a supercommunicator, with Charles Duhigg

978. Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author, Charles Duhigg, as we talk about mastering the art of communication and his new book, “Supercommunicators.” We explore the skills anyone (yes, you!) can learn to become a powerful communicator. (Grammar Girl Conversations)

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