Author Archives: Robin Straaijer

About Robin Straaijer

I am a linguist and EAP trainer, working on English prescriptivism and Standard English. Lover of photography and comedy.

Usage guides… there’s no getting away from them!

Yesterday, I found this well-worn copy of Margaret Nicholson’s A Dictionary of American-English Usage (Signet 1958) in my local street library (see photo below) just around the corner of where I live. I realised that it has been just about … Continue reading

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Fowler’s Modern English Usage: new but not New

It was February 1997, and Robert Burchfield’s The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage had been out for three months. Just as the 1st and 2nd editions of the Dictionary of Modern English Usage came to be known as ‘Fowler’, The Economist asked itself whether the … Continue reading

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Onto doesn’t exist?

Last week, Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade published a post on Simon Heffer’s discussion of into on this blog. In his discussion of into in Strictly English, Heffer mentions a closely related usage item, the use of on to versus onto, of which … Continue reading

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Practicing with the HUGE database

Last week we ran a workshop with a group of language professionals in which they explored the HUGE database with some practice searches. Those practice search questions are now also available on the database page so you can do the same. … Continue reading

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The HUGE database: data entry

We have just finished the last video about the compilation of the HUGE database. Watch it here on our YouTube channel.

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Figures from 2014

It’s the start of a new year and thus a good time to rack up some numbers from our presence last year on social media. Here they are: To start, we presently have more followers than ever: over 800 people now … Continue reading

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user manual

The user manual for the HUGE database is finished! It can be downloaded as a pdf here. The manual contains a general introduction and information on the construction and content of the HUGE database, as well as example searches of all … Continue reading

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There is a new video about creating the HUGE database on our YouTube channel. Watch it here.

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On November 7, The Washington Post published my review of Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style. You can read it on their website here. It also appeared in the print newspaper on the same day under the title ‘The Sense of Style,’ … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker’s Sense of Usage

Last month, Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style was published in Britain and the US. As a specialist on books of usage advice, and as someone who needs to write for a living, I find The Sense of Style interesting because it … Continue reading

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