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
- Do you have an English or grammar question? Ask us here!
- TWTS: Singular "they" and verb agreement
Pronouns are on the front burner of language change at the moment. As such, we get a lot of questions about them. For example, a listener recently asked if you should say, "They are going to the …
- TWTS: Don't get into a pique over "pique"
The word “pique” recently piqued the interest of one of our listeners. Colin Williams wrote to us after seeing the phrase, "As the president's pique became increasingly evident…" in a …
- TWTS: Redundancies, or when something is nice enough to name twice
The Rio Grande is certainly a grand river. But not everyone thinks it's grand enough to be called "river" twice, as in the Rio Grande River. In case you're not up on your Spanish, …
- TWTS: Don't count on "countless" to be literal
Grammarians sometimes worry about whether you can count the things to which a noun refers. And no, we're not talking about "less" and "fewer."