Mignon Fogarty has spent years helping others sort out the extremely peculiar grammar of the English language. But in the course of her research on how to navigate the weirdness of English, she learned the why of the weirdness of English.

Did you know that egregious once meant outstandingly good? Or that the sport badminton comes from an English manor with a love of peculiar sports? Or that many of the words in the Oxford Dictionary of English got there from the suggestions of a serial killer?

But the strangeness doesn’t stop there. In today’s interview Mignon tells us such stories as

  • The same person who came up with the rule that we shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition also said we shouldn’t refer to children as “who” because they aren’t rational beings
  • Noah Webster’s first failed dictionary went too far with spelling reform. He included “wimmen” for “women” and “tung” for “tongue” and everybody hated it.
  • The origin of certain phrases (run of the mill, beyond the pale, by the wayside)

RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE

Grammar Girl Podcast

Quickanddirtytips.com

 

EXCLUSIVE OFFER TO HISTORY UNPLUGGED PODCAST LISTENERS

As a history lover, you probably like the ideas of Ben Franklin. But that doesn’t mean you want his hair style, particularly his signature bald patch. That’s why I recommend using Keeps — a product that keeps the hair you have, and you can try it free for a month.

Hair loss isn’t just your dad’s problem—it happens earlier in life than you think. By 35, 2 out of 3 men will start losing their hair. But hair loss is actually easy to prevent—if you get started early. That’s where Keeps comes in. It’s a new company offering a simple, clinically proven, affordable way to stop hair loss.

Keeps is the easiest way to keep your hair. It offers the only two FDA approved hair loss products, clinically proven to keep the hair you have. You can sign up in less than 5 minutes by just answering a few questions on their website and snapping some photos. A licensed doctor remotely reviews your information and gives you the right prescription, all without ever leaving your couch.

Keeps is entirely online and only costs $10-$35 a month – so it’s $1 a day (or less) on average. This is half of what you’d typically pay at the pharmacy.

Stop hair loss today the easy way with Keeps, offering customized treatment plans with only FDA approved hair loss products for about $1 a day, from the comfort of your couch. To receive your first month of treatment for free, go to Keeps.com