Month: June 2014

Octopi or Octopuses?

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Now, we probably don’t use either the singular or plural form of octopus very often unless we own or frequent sushi bars, but most of us have long been mistaken about how to pluralize the critter.

I’ve heard octopi used a lot, but that is a completely erroneous pluralization. The word comes from Greek, not Latin (Greek: oktopous, or eight-footed). Were it of Latin origin, octopi would be fine.

That leaves us English speakers with octopuses, which the dictionary confirms. However, the real, honest-to-God plural form is octopodes.

Bank that one in your memory if you ever plan on competing on “Jeopardy.” Otherwise, just go on saying octopi if you like.

Categories: Grammar Notes

Children Who Can’t Write But Only Type

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The so-called Common Core of education that drives the curriculum in most states de-emphasizes the teaching of cursive writing except in kindergarten and first grade. After that, students are expected to learn keyboard skills.

My initial thought: Is Apple behind this shift? Did Steve Jobs pay someone off at the Department of Education?

Anyway, studies have shown that writing, as opposed to keystroking on a smartphone or tablet, stimulates the brain and increases retention and learning in ways that using modern gadgets can’t.

Don’t believe me? Read the science behind it here:

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades?

Categories: Grammar Notes