Mrs. B’s

  • Tuesday, November 19

    NOBODY’S PERFECT

    Usually the American Journalism Review is a touchstone of grammatical writing, but Mrs. B caught this slip-up and builds today’s lesson around it: “He ...
  • Thursday, November 14

    APPLYING SOME GAFFE-R’S TAPE

    Mrs. B noted a few gaffes on local news she’d like to share with you in today’s lesson. The word “residents” doesn’t work nearly ...
  • Tuesday, November 12

    FEWER VS. LESS

    An important letter of correction to share with you today on the issue of “fewer” and “less”: “I must take exception… to your example ...
  • Thursday, November 7

    A CACHE OF GOOD ADVICE

    Mrs. B thinks it’s time for a review of the words “cache” and “cachet,” pronunciations as well as definitions. A letter from Glendale, Calif., ...
  • Tuesday, November 5

    IRONIC, ISN’T IT?

    “Irony” and “ironic” are a couple of words we occasionally use in copy. But are we using them correctly? Mrs. B takes the cue ...
  • October 2019

  • Thursday, October 31

    ACCEPTING THE USE OF “EXCEPT”

    Mrs. B hears “accept” mispronounced so often, she’s thinking maybe it’s time for a lesson on the difference between “accept” and “except.” “Accept” is ...
  • Tuesday, October 29

    APROPOS THE USE OF “APPROPRIATE”

    A former producer, now a lawyer in Maryland, wrote to Mrs. B about “apropos/appropriate.” It might be helpful to you. One of her firm’s ...
  • Thursday, October 24

    IF YOU’RE FROM MAINE, YOU’RE A…

    Mrs. B has noticed in her travels that anchors and reporters are having some trouble with how they talk about people from various states. ...
  • Tuesday, October 22

    AN AMIABLE TOPIC

    ‘Are you “amiable” today? If so, that means you’re friendly and good-natured. >Ellen’s cheerful personality makes her an AMIABLE manager. “Amicable,” though it, too, ...
  • Thursday, October 17

    IMPLICITLY EXPLICIT

    The difference between “explicit” and “implicit.” That’s the subject of todays lesson. “Explicit” means expressed directly or clearly stated. >The news director’s EXPLICIT memo ...
  • Tuesday, October 15

    IDIOMS FOR…ALL OF US

    Idioms are bound to pop out of your mouth on a regular basis, but let’s be sure that what pops out is standard. Here’s ...
  • Thursday, October 10

    IDIOMS FOR….ALL OF US

    Idioms are bound to pop out of your mouth on a regular basis, but let’s be sure that what pops out is standard. Here’s ...
  • Tuesday, October 8

    ACCEPTING SOME EXCEPTIONS

    Mrs. B invites you to go over some commonly confused words today. “Accept” is a verb that means “to receive.” >The producer said she ...
  • Thursday, October 3

    A CONTINUAL REMINDER

    It’s time for a refresher on a couple of lessons, namely the difference between “continually” and “continuously” and “its” and “it’s.” “Continually” means something ...
  • Tuesday, October 1

    REDUNDANCIES…AGAIN

    Mrs. B knows it’s easy to fall into the accidental use of a silly sounding redundancy.  So here’s a reminder: Do NOT say “two ...
  • September 2019

  • Thursday, September 26

    GET IT?

    By itself, there’s nothing wrong with “got.” But put it with “have,” and Mrs. B’s finger starts wagging. She knows you hear it all ...
  • Tuesday, September 24

    ON THE RACK

    William Branigin was one of the first Washington Post reporters in Afghanistan to begin covering the war against Taliban and al Qaeda forces. He ...
  • Thursday, September 19

    COMPARING DIFFERENCES

    Mrs. B’s conversation with a Muslim from the Washington area inspired today’s lesson. A 43-year-old from Saudi Arabia compared the late, unlamented Osama Bin ...
  • Tuesday, September 17

    AN AIR OF FOREBODING

    They look alike, sound alike, and even have similar meanings, but “forbidding” and “foreboding” are NOT interchangeable. “Forbidding” is an adjective. “Foreboding” is a ...
  • Thursday, September 12

    AN AIR OF FOREBODING

    They look alike, sound alike, and even have similar meanings, but “forbidding” and “foreboding” are NOT interchangeable. “Forbidding” is an adjective. “Foreboding” is a ...
  • Tuesday, September 10

    IT’S “IN”, NOT “UN”

    A plaintive plea from a Grammar Yammer reader influenced Mrs. B to offer this admonition today: please don’t “un” the “in” words. Take the ...
  • Thursday, September 5

    A “MASTERLY” LESSON

    Mrs. B confesses she has misused “masterful” many times and is vowing not to again. She has confused it with “masterly” and wants you ...
  • Tuesday, September 3

    EMINENTLY IMMINENT

    Mrs. B thinks a word that has come up lately is worth discussing in Grammar. Coroner: “imminent.” Notice it has two “m’s.” “Imminent” means ...
  • August 2019

  • Thursday, August 29

    WATCH THOSE WORDS

    The U.S. military uses two names for the on-base jail. Mrs. B wants you to repeat after her. >The Army and the Air Force ...
  • Tuesday, August 27

    NO MORE CLICHÉS

    “No one knows” and “everyone thinks” are not only clichés, they’re usually inaccurate. How many times have you heard, “No one knows where the ...
  • Thursday, August 22

    STARTING WITH “A”

    You already know “all right” is two words, that “alright” is non-standard. But take a look at these “a”-words that work BOTH ways, as ...
  • Tuesday, August 20

    MRS B: GRAMMAR UPDATE

    Mrs. B thinks a word that has come up lately is worth discussing in Grammar. Corner: “imminent.” Notice it has two “ms.” “Imminent” means “soon ...
  • Thursday, August 15

    LEGAL TALK

    OK, you legal eagles, legal talk is the subject of today’s Grammar Yammer.  “Impeachment” is the constitutional process that accuses an elected official of ...
  • Tuesday, August 13

    AVOIDING THE NON-STANDARD

    You’re not likely to write any of these non-standard expressions into copy. But Mrs. B wants to be sure they don’t pop up in ...
  • Thursday, August 8

    THE MISPRONOUNCED ONES

    Mrs. B has been saving up several words for this lesson. They’re words she has heard mispronounced and doesn’t want you to be one ...
  • Tuesday, August 6

    DAMAGES(S) CONTROL

    Mrs. B wants to be sure you’re using the nouns “damage” and “damages” correctly. A letter from an investigative reporter inspired today’s lesson: I ...
  • Thursday, August 1

    A MYRIAD OF OPTIONS

    “Myriad” means a huge number, maybe even too many to count. It can be both an adjective >There are MYRIAD reasons that I’ll probably ...
  • July 2019

  • Tuesday, July 30

    PREVENTING “PREVENTATIVE”

    It’s a word you hear all the time, and Mrs. B certainly doesn’t want you to lose sleep over it, but preventative is not ...
  • Thursday, July 25

    BIAS VS. PREJUDICE

    You’re “biased” TOWARD or FOR or IN FAVOR OF something or someone.  >She says she’s BIASED TOWARD a newscast with a mix of positive ...
  • Tuesday, July 23

    “CLIMATIC” OR “CLIMACTIC?”

    “Climatic” and “climactic” sound a lot a like to Mrs. B  as I’m supposing they do to you, but the sound is where the ...
  • Thursday, July 18

    A FORM OF TORTURE

    “Torturous” and “tortuous” both come from the Latin word “torquere,” which means “to twist.” (Mrs. B’s 8th grade Latin teacher in Tullahoma, Tennessee, would ...
  • Tuesday, July 16

    A “COMMA” ERROR

    Mrs. B will never forget the superintendent visiting her 7th grade English class. He told us a comma MUST come before the the in ...
  • Thursday, July 11

    DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCY DEPT. 

    Conservation is the theme of today’s lesson. Mrs. B is going to help you use fewer words than you might think you need. We’ll ...
  • Tuesday, July 9

    A “COMMA” ERROR

    Mrs. B will never forget the superintendent visiting her 7th grade English class.  He told us a comma MUST come before the “and” in ...
  • Friday, July 5

    BEING CENTERED

    If you really want to sound as if you have a command of the language, use “center ON,” instead of “center around.” (And Mrs. ...
  • Wednesday, July 3

    BONUS MRS. B: BRASS MONKEY EDITION

    Today, Mrs. B digresses from grammar to discuss a familiar weather term. She wants to make sure you understand the derivation of the term ...
  • Tuesday, July 2

    INJURE VS. WOUND

    Today’s lesson comes by way of a tv reporter in Atlanta, where Mrs. B learned how to sing “My Country Tis of Thee” in ...
  • June 2019

  • Thursday, June 27

    DOES THIS JIBE?

    Mr. B once used a most primordial form of communication to ask Mrs. B for help in word choice:  “Yo, Mrs. B,” he hollered ...
  • Tuesday, June 25

    A TRIP TO THE MIDDLE EAST

    Mrs. B refers to the CIA factbook for her lesson on the country of Qatar. You may have been saying something like KAY-tar or ...
  • Thursday, June 20

    AND NOW…MRS. B

    Mrs. B loves her “Mares and Foals” calendar, but one year it had a punctuation error for November 11, the same error Mrs. B ...
  • Tuesday, June 18

    JUST DESERTS. REALLY

    Mrs. B knows when you’re reading a script about the place Bedouins live in Saudi Arabia, you’re going to SAY “desert.” But when it ...
  • Thursday, June 13

    SEASONING THE SEASONS

    Mrs. B has such witty students.  This question comes from a newsroom in Springfield.  Is the weather seasonal or seasonable? I would like some ...
  • Tuesday, June 11

    DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCY DEPARTMENT

    Redundancy reports are rampant. And Mrs. B is squealing with delight.  From Los Angeles comes “the very latest”: “That one makes me crazy (its ...
  • Thursday, June 6

    STYLISTIC INCONSISTENCIES

    Oh, the inconsistency of the English language and of those whom we rely on for the right and the wrong of it! Mrs. B ...
  • Tuesday, June 4

    TAKE INTO CUSTODY

    Mrs. B hopes you’ve used that phrase (or variations of it) for the last time. From now on, make it ARREST or SEIZE. Take ...