• Summary

  • That's What They Say is a weekly segment on Michigan Radio that explores our changing language. Each week University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan will discuss why we say what we say with Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth.
    2022 Michigan Radio
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Episodes
  • TWTS: Staving off questions about "staffs" and "staves"

    Sep 12 2021
    If you have one staff, as in a stick, and then you add another staff, you now run into the question of whether you have two staffs or two staves. At least, that’s the question that popped into our heads when listener Nadia Luis asked us about the verb “stave off.” See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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    5 mins
  • TWTS: Prior to adding "to," no one cares about "previous" and "prior"

    Sep 5 2021
    The words "previous" and "prior" are synonyms and don’t get much attention from language commentators. That is, they don’t get much attention unless “to” is part of the mix. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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    5 mins
  • TWTS: All available uses of "avail"

    Aug 29 2021
    We do things more often "to no avail" than "of no avail." These constructions have been on our minds since a listener asked about the relationship between "to avail one's self" and "to no avail." As it’s our habit to make ourselves available for such inquiries, we decided to take a closer look. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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    5 mins

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