Adjuncts, Disjuncts, and Conjuncts
Posted by June on August 14, 2017
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A reader wrote to say he prefers “I hope that” to “hopefully.” The reason, as he put it: “Hopefully, the train will arrive on time” makes him think of “the brave Little Engine that Could pulling into the station filled with hope.” That's a common misperception: That "hopefully" can modify only a verb and not a whole clause or sentence. It's not true. But it afford us a good opportunity to learn about the three types of conjunctions: adjuncts, disjuncts, and conjuncts. Here's my recent column on the subject.

Posted by June on August 7, 2017

Here are some things you can say about irregardless, if you're so inclined.

Irregardless is terrible.

Irregardless sounds uneducated.

Irregardless contains a redundant prefix.

But here's the one thing you cannot say about irregardless.

Irregardless is not a word.

Here's my recent column in which I explain how and why irregardless, for all its flaws, is most definitely a word.

The Possessive of Jr. Through the Eyes of the New Yorker
Posted by June on July 31, 2017


The New Yorker has a policy of putting commas around Jr., as in Donald Trump, Jr., met with Kremlin proxies. So how do they make that possessive? Do they do what any sane copy editor would do and drop the second comma? Nope. Here's what they do.

Donald Trump, Jr.,'s meeting with Kremlin proxies.

Repeat: Jr.,'s

Here, at some length, are thoughts on the subject.

Forgo and Forego
Posted by June on July 24, 2017


I don't know if I've ever seen anyone use the word forego correctly. Most of the time, it's used to mean "to do without," as in, "He'll have to forego using his washing machine for a week." They wanted to write forgo. But instead they chose a word that is at best a "variant" spelling of the word they wanted.

The past tense of forego—forwent—crops up from time to time. The male pioneers forewent the women and children settlers. But that's pretty rare, too. 

For the record, unless you want to settle for the variant spelling, the word that means to do without is forgo. No E. With an E, forego means to go before—a job we usually just give to precede.