Mrs. B’s

  • 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 ...
  • May 2019

  • Thursday, May 30

    NEWSPEAK

    We’ve talked about “newspeak” before, but Mrs. B is being nudged to address it again:  “The veteran catcher UNDERWENT hip surgery today and is ...
  • Tuesday, May 28

    A CONCERNING COLUMN

    Mrs. B s has a pen pal who is concerned about “is concerned”: America has an entire generation now dropping the words “is concerned” ...
  • Thursday, May 23

    WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?

    Mrs. B’s sign is Libra. Today’s lesson is somewhat related. Read what arrived in her e-mailbox from the West Coast: I heard something on ...
  • Tuesday, May 21

    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 ...
  • Thursday, May 16

    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, May 14

    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 ...
  • Thursday, May 9

    THE CASE FOR PUNCTUATION

    Mrs. B has noticed that some anchors, even on the network level, run their sentences together. There simply are no periods in their reading.  ...
  • Tuesday, May 7

    MRS. B’S DRINKING GAME

    “Drink, drank, drunk.”  Mrs. B is going to set the record straight. “Drink” is an “irregular” verb. That means it forms its past and ...
  • Thursday, May 2

    DON’T STRESS OVER DISTRESS

    If you’re in a quandary about when to use “stress” and when to use “distress,” this lesson might help.  Here’s the letter from Morristown, ...
  • April 2019

  • Tuesday, April 30

    DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCY DEPARTMENT

    Fasten your seat belt. Mrs. B is taking you on a high speed lesson in redundancies today. Ready? absolutely conclusive agricultural crops close proximity ...
  • Thursday, April 25

    KEEP IT SIMPLE

    Most of the time Mrs. B prefers short words to long ones. And your viewers do, too. Instead of “approximately,” say ABOUT. Instead of ...
  • Tuesday, April 23

    LOSE THE “E” AND OTHER SINGULAR TOPICS

    Let’s spend a little time on a word and on a phrase we’re using lately. Our topic is courtesy of a note we once ...
  • Thursday, April 18

    LISTEN UP EVERYONE

    Every time Mrs. B thinks of Mrs. Bobo, her senior English teacher in high school (and her mentor), she thinks of the “everyone” lesson.  ...
  • Tuesday, April 16

    GIVING GRAMMAR ITS DUE

    Due to” is an adjective phrase and should not be used as a preposition meaning “because of.” >The shoot was canceled BECAUSE OF a ...
  • Thursday, April 11

    BEHIND BARS WITH MRS. B

    Most viewers are confused by incarceration.   Mrs. B wants you to be sure your confusion is not adding to theirs. JAIL is a local ...
  • Tuesday, April 9

    NOT A FAVORITE

    “Proactive” is not one of Mrs. B’s favorite words.  In fact, she would like to see it eradicated. (And that’s pretty radical for the ...
  • Thursday, April 4

    THAT WHICH IS CORRECT

    “That” is one of those words that can make for a bumpy read and, therefore, a bumpy listen.  It’s also a word that, if ...
  • Tuesday, April 2

    SOUND-ALIKES

    Mrs. B would appreciate your taking a little time this morning to look at some sound-alike words that MEAN nothing alike. FLAK is gunfire, ...
  • March 2019

  • Thursday, March 28

    THAT WHICH IS CORRECT

    “That” is one of those words that can make for a bumpy read and, therefore, a bumpy listen.  It’s also a word that, if ...
  • Tuesday, March 26

    COVERING COURTS COHERENTLY

    Mrs. B turns your attention today to some more mistakes we’re making in covering the legal system.  A former reporter for nearly 20 years ...
  • Thursday, March 21

    AFGHAN VS. AFGHANI

    A letter to Mrs. B from Corpus Christi inspires today’s lesson. Can you tell me what the correct “term” is for the people of ...
  • Tuesday, March 19

    SPOKESMAN OR SPOKESWOMAN????

    Good morning. One of your classmates poses a good question: What about “company spokesman” vs. “spokeswoman” or “spokesperson”?? While the latter two choices seem ...
  • Friday, March 15

    NO “S”, OK?

    Today’s lesson is an easy one, for a change. It’s Friday, and Mrs. B knows you work hard and need a break every now ...
  • Thursday, March 14

    A RECURRING MISTAKE

    A recurring mistake begins today’s lesson, brought to Mrs. B’s attention by a Kansas City reader. The other day I heard a radio announcer ...
  • Tuesday, March 12

    HOW DO YOU PLEAD?

    Into the courtroom we go for today’s lesson. Mrs. B has heard plenty of pleas to run a reminder about the past tense of ...
  • Thursday, March 7

    “WHO” vs. “WHOM”

    When to use “who” and “whom” is such a bother, especially if you didn’t have a grandmother like Mrs. B’s, a one room school ...
  • Tuesday, March 5

    SAY WHAT YOU MEAN

    Mr. B used a software program to rewrite his and Mrs. B’s will.  That done, they had to find a NOTARY PUBLIC, not a ...
  • February 2019

  • Thursday, February 28

    TOWARD BETTER GRAMMAR

    Today’s lesson is an easy one, for a change.  Mrs. B knows you work hard and need a break every now and then. We ...
  • Tuesday, February 26

    SHE’S A GOOD SPORT, THOUGH

    A sports fan Mrs. B is not.  Regardless, she tackles a few teams, per the request of a “shame based grammarian,” or so he ...
  • Thursday, February 21

    MURDER, SHE EXPLAINED

    It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, but Mrs. B turns your attention to a not so neighborly subject: unnatural death and how you, ...
  • Tuesday, February 19

    RELIGIOUSLY CORRECT

    As Easter looms before us, Mrs. B is intrigued by this letter from a member of the journalism faculty at Emerson College in Boston. ...
  • Thursday, February 14

    DÉJÀ VU – SORT OF

    Mrs. B had a sense of deja vu today when she heard a tune from the early 60s, her last years of high school.  ...
  • Tuesday, February 12

    A RECURRING  MISTAKE

    A recurring mistake begins today’s lesson, courtesy of a reader of this column.  The other day I heard a radio announcer say a word ...
  • Thursday, February 7

    WE EAGERLY AWAIT YOUR REACTION

    Let’s spend just a little time on “anxious” and “eager.  “Anxious” means full of worry or anxiety; “eager” means excited or enthusiastic. So… >Rosemary ...
  • Tuesday, February 5

    LOSE THESE EXPRESSIONS

    “Make up to 30-thousand dollars or more.” Now wait just a pea pickin’ minute. (Mrs. B is allowed to use such a colloquialism. She ...