To Grammar's House

A regular column by the Boston Globe copy desk on the style and language used in the newspaper

To Grammar’s House

Time for a fall cleaning

Raking

AP Photo/Coeur d'Alene Press, Jerome A. Pol

“Boots on the ground,” “think outside the box,” and other hackneyed phrases that should be avoided at all costs.

Globe Insiders | To Grammar’s House

Making our mark

Discussions about punctuation needn’t be dull affairs. Consider these breathtaking scenes.

To Grammar’s House

We’re in this together

For centuries, writers used the male form of neutral pronouns, but a rule of grammar that slights half the population cannot last forever.

Businessman showing an ID card

To Grammar’s House

Identification, please

From “front-runner” to “casino mogul,” editors must be careful when applying identifying words and phrases to people.

Racers in the wheelchair division competed at the London marathon last month.

To Grammar’s House

Confine this phrase to the trash heap

Prisoners are confined to their cells. Animals in zoos are confined to their cages. But people who use wheelchairs do not consider themselves “confined.”

To Grammar’s House

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/09/21/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/apstyle--90x90.jpg Hopefully, we’ll see it rarely

While the Associated Press recently updated its style guidelines on the word “hopefully,” the Globe still prefers to keep its use at a minimum.

To Grammar’s House

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/09/21/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/SPRINGCLEANING2.jpg Spring cleaning for grammar rules

Grammar’s House can get a bit cluttered sometimes, often with rules that are capricious, spurious, or flat-out erroneous.

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin looks on against the New Jersey Nets in the first half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, February 20, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

To Grammar’s House

Clanging off the rim

Should headline writers give in to the temptation of terms like “Linsanity”? Or should they stick with words that actually exist?

Gamblers play roulette inside the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

To Grammar’s House

Rolling the dice on casino headlines

The idea for Massachusetts casinos began in 2007. After a tide of gambling expressions in headlines, they no longer feel like a winning hand.

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