Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

grammar & usage

Dear Richard Lederer: I swear this is true. A radio reporter recently announced, “Police surrounded a house and ordered out a man accused of killing a convenience store clerk with a megaphone.” No word on whether cause of death was blunt force or burst eardrums. –Garry Foster, Carlsbad

Garry Foster offers a spot-on example of what happens when one’s modifiers go south — or north or anywhere too far away from the words they are supposed to modify: The AP Press Guide to News Writing advises: “The language has many ways to trip you up, most deviously through a modifier that turns up in the wrong place. Don’t let related ideas in a sentence drift apart. Modifiers should be close to the word they purport to modify.”

Here’s a police lineup of modifiers that have gone wrong: I guarantee you that each specimen is genuine, certified, authentic and unretouched.

  • “We spent most of our time sitting on the back porch watching the cows playing Scrabble and reading.” Just a second: It’s the people who were “playing Scrabble and reading,” not the cows. The modifying phrase is hilariously misplaced.
  • “In The Valley Between a prim teacher flees from a runaway bull clad only in his underwear,” a book review informs us. But who is “clad only in his underwear”—the teacher or the bull? Presumably it’s the teacher, but because the phrase “clad only in his underwear” comes at the end of the sentence, the reader gets the impression that the bull is the one running around in Skivvies.
  • In the novel The Rosetta Key, we read, “The English captain had escaped in part by signaling a lady he’d bedded through the prison windows, which was resourcefulness after my own heart.” What a contortionist!
  • “A Muncie woman has been sentenced to 10 days in jail after driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of twice the legal limit.” Maybe her car was one of those notorious guzzlers.
  • “Accused spy Wen Ho Lee is speaking out today for the first time since being incarcerated on the Today” Where on the Today set did they lock up Mr. Lee?

And on and on it goes:

  • With his tail held high, my father led his prize bull around the arena.
  • Farmhand Bill Rudd hoists a cow injured while giving birth to her feet with a front end loader while farm owner Tom Rogers looks on.
  • Assad has so far brushed aside appeals to end the violence from foreign diplomats.
  • Kate Middleton made her last royal appearance before her baby arrives at the Trooping of the Colour ceremony in London.
  • Doctors were giving Michael Jackson propofol to help him sleep up to 12 years before his death.
  • Damaged by bat droppings and lying under a film of dirt in a cave near the Ein Gede Oasis, the Bedouin pocketed the manuscripts and began an arduous bidding process with Professor Eshel.
  • The famous animal trainer, Keller Breeland, was the first person to use B.F. Skinner’s work to train performing animals along with his wife, Marian.
  • The city council has put a proposal to designate a place for homeless people to congregate and sleep on the back burner.
  • A screaming intruder made it onto the front lawn of the White House Sunday while President George W. Bush was at home before being apprehended by Secret Service officers.
  • Oregon famers cannot remove a wolf caught in the act of attacking livestock without a permit.
  • Two white men with their faces covered with pistols entered and demanded access to the cash register.
  • Aided by a thousand eyes, the author explains how ants navigate and how they use dead reckoning.
  • Amber was escorted by her father wearing a strapless silk wedding gown designed by Maria Lanting and carrying a tropical flower bouquet.
  • The dog was hungry and made the mistake of nipping a two-year-old that was trying to force feed it in his ear.
  • French mastiffs, also known as dogues de Bordeaux or Bordeaux bulldogs, are fighting dogs with big heads that can weigh more than 50 kilograms.