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Happy Monday, grammar fans, and welcome to today’s post, in which we answer the question, “Is it ‘drips and drabs’ or ‘dribs and drabs’?” with a little help from the characters of Sherlock.
This Friday editorial is fun, plain and simple. The staff of The Week compiled 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent, and the headline is entirely accurate.

For all that James Nicoll's joke is true—English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary—there are still so many concepts we don't have words for in English. Sometimes these are locally influenced, such as distinct terms for snow in Inuktitut or for sweet potatoes in Hawaiian, but other times there are new ways of looking at life that other languages bring to the fore by naming them.

Say What? Reap What You Sow/Marry in Haste

In today’s Say What, we’re looking at two sayings very different in association and history: as you sow, so you shall reap and marry in haste, repent at leisure. Separated by time and their sources they might be but they share a unitary thread – that of consequences. The Guardians of the Galaxy will supply our fannish examples.

On with the post

ANSWER: Off vs Of

minesomine asked us to clarify when to use "off" versus "of", and how to remember the difference. Let's take a look at this using examples from The Dresden Files.

Let's hear what Harry Dresden and friends have to say about it

Just look at those words! Aren't they wonderful? And as readers who consume a wide variety of literature, we recognize them, don't we? Of course we do!

A more difficult question is "Do we know exactly what they mean?" For my part, I'm not ashamed to say "not exactly, no."

These sorts of words are what author Seth Stevenson calls "bubble vocabulary." In his 2014 Slate article Shibboleth. Casuistry. Recondite., he takes a look at these words at the very edges of our vocabularies and suggests some strategies for attempting to employ them.

(Wrestling with bubbles … )

Anticipation, sang Carly Simon: It's keeping me waiting.

Today's Say What? features a pair of sayings that go well with Simon's famous song. We'll explore them with the help of Gansey III's crew from Maggie Stiefvater's Young Adult series, the Raven Cycle.

(We can't wait!)

Answer: Moot

We were asked, What is the origin and correct usage of “moot?” Moot has a variety of meanings, so correct usage can be a bit tricky.  Let’s dig right in with some help from the characters of Star Trek.

Who gives a hoot about moot?
In February 2015, io9 writer Lauren Davis tackled a list of “10 Things People Once Complained Would Ruin the English Language,” a fun article that explains 10 things that grammarians and other language lovers used to freak out about. Unsurprisingly, it’s easy to see parallels between past concerns and the language worries of today. Spoiler alert: English hasn’t been ruined yet, and it probably won’t be.
For this week's Say What? adventure, we're going to look at a couple of seemingly biblically-inspired sayings, with the help of our friends over at with the help of our friends over at Once Upon a TimeCollapse )

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