I just discovered that After Deadline, an internal New York Times newsletter on language and writing, is also adapted for inclusion in the Times Topics blog. The most recent post is on murky language and overstuffed sentences, and there’s a nice stash of earlier posts on grammar, usage, words, and other things language-related.
Among them is a piece on the rise of the word we love to hate, the s-word. Even if it pains you to see it in print, the post has some interesting statistics on the rise of this scourge word, which, amazingly, wasn’t used in the Times a single time in 1980, and only once in 1985 (by my nemesis, William Safire). Usage crept up through the ninteies, and set a record last year with over 40 appearances. The author, Philip B. Corbet, doesn’t offer any theories about the source of the plague, though he does suggest it’s time to give it a rest. Here’s to hoping it goes the way of the Bush administration.