Strait and Narrow

June 1st, 2018 · 51 mins 15 secs

About this Episode

Writing is important in many areas, and the sciences are no exception. Publications such as Nature offer guidance on such issues as when to use past tense and when to use present tense. In these contexts, grammar is more than something for the Grammar Police to enforce. It matters substantively, as it shapes how assertions are understood by readers and listeners. These effects matter for understanding policy, because research in the sciences can potentially inform sound policy judgment, at least in my happy fantasyland where leaders actually pay attention to relevant science.

In this episode, my guest (linguist Conor Quinn) and I explore grammar and some of its impact on how people make claims, in English, and beyond.

Highlights

--Conor sounds smart (because he is)
--I pay a compliment to some psychologist friends of mine, but then I take it all back
--I tell two Mitch Hedberg jokes (poorly)
--I paint another comedian in an unfavorable light, but only gently so
--I paint yet another pair of comedians in a favorable light
--I probably make too many references to standup comedy (but I do love it when it's good)