Anne Curzan | Contributor, That’s What They Say

Anne Curzan is the Geneva Smitherman Collegiate Professor of English and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. She also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Linguistics and the School of Education.

As an expert in the history of the English language, Anne describes herself as a fount of random linguistic information about how English works and how it got to be that way. She received the University’s Henry Russel Award for outstanding research and teaching in 2007, as well as the Faculty Recognition Award in 2009 and the 2012 John Dewey Award for undergraduate teaching.

Anne has published multiple books and dozens of articles on the history of the English language (from medieval to modern), language and gender, and pedagogy. Her newest book is Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History (2014). She has also created three audio/video courses for The Great Courses, including “The Secret Life of Words” and “English Grammar Boot Camp.”

When she is not tracking down new slang or other changes in the language, Anne can be found running around Ann Arbor, swimming in pools both indoor and out, and now doing yoga (in hopes that she can keep running for a few more years to come).

Contributions from Anne Curzan

  • TWTS: The not-so dulcet tones of harping
    While harps make beautiful music, most of us would agree there’s nothing beautiful about someone harping on something. Our listener Kalen Oswald recently asked, “If the harp is historically famous for …
  • TWTS: Where we're at right now with "where's it at"
    We love it when people send us grammar jokes. One that is passed around quite a bit has to do with the construction "where's it at."
  • TWTS: Just try and stop saying "try and"
    Your challenge this week is to try and avoid using the construction "try and." Why, you ask? Because we get a lot of questions from listeners about this particular construction and whether i …
  • TWTS: Everybody "takes the L" sometimes
    Sometimes a not-so-great experience can be made just a bit better if you have an excellent slang phrase to describe it. We think "take the L" falls right into that category.
  • TWTS: Looking for redundancy in "in and of itself"
    Apparently, "in and of itself” is the source of some concern about redundancy. This phrase wasn’t actually on our radar until a listener brought it up at our most recent Grammar Night event . The …