New York Times

Digital dictionaries

It may seem old-fashioned to consult a dictionary while writing, but I can’t imagine working without a reputable dictionary nearby. “Working with word books strengthens our imaginative muscles, and in turn, strengthens our own mental thesauruses, our ability to call up precise words,” I wrote in Sin and Syntax. But what happens to the dictionary in an era of e-publishing?

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Constance Hale on writing collectives

Every artist needs solitude and society, which is why I am a member of the SF Writers’ Grotto—a workplace for professional writers that just celebrated its 20-year anniversary this December.

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First persona

How do we write about ourselves without narcissism? I recently gave a public talk at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, on that perennially perplexing question: How do we writers “find our voice”? A couple of days later I led a workshop on crafting personal stories and memoirs. I’ve devoted an entire New York Times column […]

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Nick Ripatrazone’s “Thoughts for English Teachers”

I usually use this section of the Web site for guest posts by teachers, but I’m doing a little cheat here. Nick Ripatrazone recently wrote an essay called “55 Thoughts for English Teachers,” for The Millions, an online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture since 2003. (The New York Times called it an “indispensable literary site.”)

Ripatrazone has written six books of fiction and poetry. Despite his delicious Italian name, he teaches English, and has for 10 years. In the essay he shares his inspiring reflections on the profession.

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In the weeds (aka lay v. lie)

When the late William Safire wrote a New York Times column with a sentence that began “Another reason I laid low was…” his readers pounced. He then wrote another column to clarify correct and incorrect uses of lay and lie. Here’s a gross paraphrase, to give you one more way to sort those two verbs out.

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