NPR

Is The Period Dead? One BuzzFeed Editor On How The Internet Has Changed Language

The rules governing language are beginning to dwindle. But Emmy Favilla, former BuzzFeed global copy chief, says there are still grammar cops.
"A World Without 'Whom,'" by Emmy J. Favilla. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Emmy Favilla, former BuzzFeed global copy chief, has written a guide to language usage and how it’s been shaped by social media and the internet.

Favilla (@em_dash3) joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to talk about “A World Without ‘Whom’: The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age.”

Interview Highlights

On grammar rules

“There are rules. I think that the number of hard-and-fast rules is dwindling a bit in this age of omnipresent technology. It’s funny to me how everything else in our world evolves — technology, the food we eat, our fashion — but for whatever reason, language is this one thing that people are such sticklers about.”

On some common mistakes, and using the right words

“So a ‘hoard’ is a large collection of something, while a ‘horde’ is a large group of people, and as a copy editor, I feel like this is one of the top spelling mistakes that I see even from professional journalists and writers. And to be quite honest, sometimes I have to double check, too, because after

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
Boeing Pilots Detected 737 Max Flight Control Glitch 2 Years Before Deadly Crash
One pilot messaged that the problem was "egregious" and he had "basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly)" when he had told the FAA that the flight control system was safe.
NPR3 min read
'Modern Love' Is An Uneven Tour Of New York Romance
Amazon's adaptation of the "Modern Love" column from the New York Times boasts a big, interesting cast. The stories, on the other hand, aren't so great.
NPR3 min read
Could This Tree Be An Eco-Friendly Way To Wean Indonesian Farmers Off Palm Oil?
Palm oil plantations have led to widespread deforestation in Indonesia. But now some farmers are turning to a different crop — damar, a kind of anti-palm oil, grown in forest-based farms.