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To Kill an Adjective

This week on A Way with Words: Are you guilty of adjective abuse? Martha and Grant discuss a new book that says Americans use too many.

To Kill an Adjective

Originally aired April 28, 2007

(Photo: Sing along with Schoolhouse Rock. Buena Vista Home Entertainment )


Are you guilty of adjective abuse? Martha and Grant talk about the new book that takes its title from Mark Twain’s advice to writers: “When you catch an adjective, kill it.”

Meanwhile, a caller bemoans the death of the adverb, while another gets to the bottom of the word “scuttlebutt.” Arrrrrrrrrrrrrre you ready to talk like a pirate? Quiz Guy John Chaneski drops by with a puzzle based on a newly discovered dictionary of pirate lingo (or so he says, anyway).

What does “Uff da” mean, and why are so many Lutherans saying it? Should you worry if your car is parked “antigoglin”?
Support for A Way With Words comes from Thinkmap, maker of the Visual Thesaurus, an interactive dictionary and thesaurus. The Visual Thesaurus brings language to life. Learn more at