That's What They Say podcast

That's What They Say

That's What They Say is a weekly segment on Michigan Public that explores our changing language. Each week University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan will discuss why we say what we say with Michigan Public Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth.

That's What They Say is a weekly segment on Michigan Public that explores our changing language. Each week University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan will discuss why we say what we say with Michigan Public Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth.

 

#20

TWTS: When it comes to "lie" and "lay," even English professors get confused

Even for speakers who feel solid about the distinction between "lie" and "lay," they may lose that distinction when "low" is added to the mix. ... Read more

16 Jun 2024

05 MINS

05:17

16 Jun 2024


#19

TWTS: We're not done talking about "alright," all right?

All right, last week, we got distracted by the versatility of "all right." This week, we look at why spelling it as one word, "alright," makes some people really mad. ... Read more

11 Jun 2024

05 MINS

05:20

11 Jun 2024


#18

TWTS: "Alright" is not just all right with everyone

All right, all right. It's time for us to start talking about whether "alright" is all right. ... Read more

03 Jun 2024

04 MINS

04:43

03 Jun 2024


#17

TWTS: Await for it, or just await

Wait, wait, don't tell me I can't wait on things. ... Read more

27 May 2024

04 MINS

04:43

27 May 2024


#16

TWTS: How worms of destruction begat worms of wisdom

While now we may think of being a bookworm as a positive trait, that hasn't always been the case. ... Read more

20 May 2024

04 MINS

04:50

20 May 2024


#15

TWTS: It "ghosts" without saying ... well, anything

Social media has made a couple of longstanding English verbs work or mean differently. ... Read more

13 May 2024

04 MINS

04:54

13 May 2024


#14

TWTS: You can pay homage with or without the "h"

If you want to pronounce "homage" to a tee, it may depend what you mean. ... Read more

29 Apr 2024

04 MINS

04:57

29 Apr 2024


#13

TWTS: Learning new slang is good "for the plot"

As we live our lives, there's some new slang words that can help us narrate it as we go. That is, if we're in a demographic that allows us to use slang credibly. ... Read more

21 Apr 2024

05 MINS

05:10

21 Apr 2024


#12

TWTS: Whether "or not" belongs in "whether or not" or not

We don’t all agree on whether or not we should correct the phrasing "whether or not." ... Read more

14 Apr 2024

05 MINS

05:07

14 Apr 2024


#11

TWTS: Going forth and back on "back and forth"

We can talk about sending emails back and forth. But why does it sound odd to talk about sending them forth and back? ... Read more

07 Apr 2024

04 MINS

04:10

07 Apr 2024


#10

TWTS: You can tuna fish, but you may not need the "fish"

Given that “tuna” is a fish, some may find it unnecessary to call out that fact out in the compound “tuna fish.” For others, “fish” may be an important distinction. ... Read more

01 Apr 2024

04 MINS

04:52

01 Apr 2024


#9

TWTS: Prone to be prone

You can be prone to do something, whether you're lying down or not. ... Read more

24 Mar 2024

05 MINS

05:14

24 Mar 2024


#8

TWTS: Attend as many "trainings" as you like

There’s evidence of a new peeve arising. This one is focused on “training” as a countable noun. ... Read more

18 Mar 2024

05 MINS

05:17

18 Mar 2024


#7

TWTS: An oft overlooked double possessive

Lots of people don't like the redundancy in "irregardless." However, no one's fussy about the redundancy in a phrase like "a friend of mine." ... Read more

10 Mar 2024

04 MINS

04:33

10 Mar 2024


#6

TWTS: An ouster for the ouster

An ouster can be an act of ousting, or it can be the one who does the ousting. But we seem to have opted for one of those meanings over the other. ... Read more

03 Mar 2024

05 MINS

05:13

03 Mar 2024


#5

TWTS: Need something? Manifest it

At this point, we can manifest our dream future, a good grade on a exam, or even a parking spot. ... Read more

25 Feb 2024

04 MINS

04:54

25 Feb 2024


#4

TWTS: "Curry favor" comes from a horse (of course, of course)

Currying favor has everything to do with flattery and horses, and nothing to do with food. ... Read more

18 Feb 2024

04 MINS

04:48

18 Feb 2024


#3

TWTS: Known liars better hope their pants never literally catch fire

There’s a children’s rhyme that involves liars and pants on fire and various types of wires. Now, we can say things are “pants on fire” false. ... Read more

11 Feb 2024

04 MINS

04:45

11 Feb 2024


#2

TWTS: If or whether you should use "if" or "whether"

If you worry about if or whether you should use "if" or "whether" in exactly this construction, you're not alone. ... Read more

04 Feb 2024

04 MINS

04:52

04 Feb 2024


#1

TWTS: Intensifiers are so intense

It's been really dreary and so icy outside lately. It's awfully tempting to wear super cozy clothes and use lots of intensifiers. ... Read more

28 Jan 2024

05 MINS

05:01

28 Jan 2024