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Phrases

The Takeaway

How's Your English? Celebrating Grammatical Sins

Monday, June 02, 2014

Ammon Shea's new book, "Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation," is a celebration of grammatical sins of sorts. He says that new words, with new meanings and new rules of grammar, are all just signs of a healthy thriving language.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Christine Ammer author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases, including idioms that feature animals.

Tomorrow's assignment: "Lame duck" and "dark horse" are used in politics.  What idiomatic phrase would you use to describe today's political standoff?

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The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Monday, February 25, 2013

Christine Ammer, author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases, including and/or idiomatic phrases like "hue and cry" and "by hook or crook."

Tomorrow's Assignment: Use as many idiomatic phrases as you can in the space of a 100-word paragraph.    

 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Friday, February 22, 2013

Christine Ammer, author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases.

New assignment: What's your definition for the less-well-known idiom "all wool and a yard wide"?  Use your imaginations, not google!  Check out Facebook for more phrases this weekend.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christine Ammer, author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases, including newly coined idioms, like "control freak."

Tomorrow's Assignment: Are there idioms you learned incorrectly, like "intensive purposes" or "making ends meat"?  Share your "misheard" idioms.

 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Sitting in the Catbird Seat

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A conversation that happened on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 in the Lopate Show offices...

Blakeney: On Wednesday's Patricia T. O’Conner segment we’re talking about “cat words”—like “cat’s pajamas” and “kitty corner.”

Steven: That’s exciting. I’ve always wondered what’s up with the phrase “sitting in the cat bird seat.”  It doesn’t make any sense to me. At all. Is it about a cat that that is perfectly poised to catch a bird sitting in a seat? Since when do birds sit in seats? Has it caught and eaten a bird and is sitting in the bird’s seat? I do not understand this idiom! Then again, as a child, I imagined the phrase “shooting fish in a barrel” involved shooting fish out of some kind fish shooting device into a barrel on the other side of a field, not using a gun to shoot fish swimming around in a closed container. So, maybe I’m not the right person to be thinking about these things.

Blakeney: I think it’s about being in advantageous position. As in: you’re a bird, sitting in the seat above the cat. But we could just look it up… >>>

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