938. Love it or hate it, the exclamation point has been on the red carpet lately because we’re using it more. But it also has a fascinating history: the man who invented it was trying to fix a problem that annoyed him. This interview with Florence Hazrat is bursting with fascinating tidbits.
In this special bonus episode, I sat down with Laura Adams and Monica Reinagel, who host Money Girl and Nutrition Diva here on the Quick and Dirty Tips network, to celebrate their 15th anniversaries and discuss how much podcasting has changed in this decade and a half. Thanks to Laura and Monica for joining me — and if you’re new to Quick and Dirty Tips, make sure you check out Money Girl and Nutrition Diva for the best financial and nutrition advice in audio!
937. Never be confused about when to use “less” and “fewer” again. Plus, have you ever wondered why our thumb is called a thumb? Or why the “rule of thumb” is so controversial? We look at the origins of these terms and more, and also touch on the many interesting names for fingers in various languages.
936. Have you ever wondered about the nuanced differences between “aspirational” and “inspirational”? Today, we look at a newer, more cynical meaning of “aspirational.” Plus, you’ve probably heard all about the promise of ChatGPT. Well, we dig into stories of people who were trying to save time, but got in trouble instead.
935. Ever been puzzled by the difference between “slow down” and “slow up”? Curious about how they can possibly mean the same thing (or do they)? We answer a burning listener question about why prepositions can be so darn tricky in English. Join us also as we delve into the fascinating world of minced oaths, examining intriguing words like “zounds” and “gadzooks.”
934. Ever wondered why “whyever” isn’t as popular as “wherever,” “however,” or “whenever”? Join me as we delve into the world of “-ever” words and their curious usage. We explore the relationship between words like “forever” and “never,” and reveal how the “-ever” suffix can intensify meaning. Plus, find out why watching British TV might lead you to use “whyever.”
But that’s not all. This week, we tackle a burning listener question: how do you pronounce Latin abbreviations like “et al.”? Should you say the abbreviation or the full phrase? And what about other common Latin abbreviations such as “ibid” and “circa”? Tune in to learn the ins and outs of these tricky linguistic tidbits, and impress your friends with your newfound pronunciation prowess!
933. Have you ever looked at a word, and it didn’t seem like a real word anymore? It’s a specific thing that happens in your brain called semantic satiation, and we have the fascinating ins and outs. Plus, we extol the merits of the full stop.
932. Have you ever thought it would be fun to be a fiction editor? “The Chicago Guide to Copyediting Fiction” by Amy Schneider gives you the inside scoop on what that job actually entails. Join us to learn about the specific challenges (and joys) of editing fiction.
931. Darth Vader wasn’t the best father (understatement!), but his name is a wonderful jumping off point to discuss the origin of the word “father.” Plus, we explain why I said he wasn’t the “best” father and not that he wasn’t the “better” father.