Holidays

  1. Why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” Was Pure Poetry

    Politicians and political figures often use anaphora in speeches to emphasize their points. A classic example of anaphora comes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. King uses the anaphoral phrase, “I have a dream,” to start eight consecutive sentences: “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi . . . will be transformed into an oasis …

  2. Quotes To Remember From Martin Luther King Jr

  3. New Year’s vs. New Year: How To Ring In The Year With Good Grammar

    As if the words to “Auld Lang Syne” weren’t difficult enough to remember, ringing in a brand-new year comes with some particularly befuddling grammar landmines. Of course, the punctuation we use when talking about the New Year’s holiday couldn’t do us a solid and follow the same pattern as Veterans Day (note the lack of apostrophe), because … well, that’s the English language for you. Don’t …

  4. Do You Give Presents Or Gifts? Here’s The Difference

    Where do the words gift and present come from? Why does English use both? We’re pretty sure it’s not just so that children can ask for toys in multiple ways… Language is not a linear, predestined development. Even though it may feel as if the language we speak is in some way the logical conclusion of thousands of years of development, every word that we …

  5. What’s The Difference Between “Yule” And “Christmas”?

    The lyric from “Deck the Halls” goes “Troll the ancient yuletide carol.” Amidst all the fa-la-la-ing, did you ever ask yourself exactly what yule is? While some people use the word as a synonym for Christmas, there’s more to Yule than the goings on that happen on December 25th. What is yule? Yule is the ancient name in the Germanic lunar calendar for a winter festival …

  6. The X In Xmas Is Really About Jesus Christ

    Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word Xmas, as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do, but the origin of this controversial term might change your mind! You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Xmas is popularly associated with a trend toward materialism and is, sometimes, the target of people who …

  7. The Word Stories Behind The 12 Days Of Christmas Gifts

  8. How To Make Your Last Name Plural (And Keep The Grammarians Off Your Back)

    If writing out your holiday cards or ordering a sign for the front of your house makes you break out in hives, you may know a few grammar sticklers who like to poke fun. You know the type: The people who own stock in red ink manufacturing and are quick to point out when you’ve misused that apostrophe and inappropriately pluralized your last name. But …

  9. What Are “Season’s Greetings”?

    There’s nothing like sitting down to fill out the holiday cards and realizing you’re not quite sure what to do with your apostrophe. Do you wish your friends and family season’s greetings? Or, should it be seasons’ greetings? Maybe you can just bypass that pesky punctuation altogether? Hey, if you’re sloppy enough, the smudged ink might just make it unclear one way or the other …

  10. How Do You Spell Chanukah (Or Is It Hanukkah)?

    Hanukkah has commenced. So has Chanukah, Hannukah, Hannukkah, and Channukah. Confused? We don’t blame you. Why is this Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, spelled in so many ways? The right way to spell Hanukkah The answer comes down to transliteration. Unlike translation, transliteration is when you “change (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.” In Hebrew, the language …

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