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

  • As of today, we're okay with "as of" and "as from"
    It appears that as of today, there isn't much concern about the phrase "as of." Perhaps that's because it's such a simple phrase. Two words, two letters each, nothing flashy. …
  • Seeing double with "duplicate" and "reduplicate"
    Recently, English Professor Anne Curzan was giving a talk in Washington about reduplication. In reduplication, a form is repeated in a straightforward way, like "no-no" or "boo-boo, …
  • Going through the conversational motions
    Even when it comes to the most interesting conversations, there's usually a routine to how they start and how they end. Think of how your conversations usually start. Generally, you don't ju …
  • When standard English doesn't make sense
    Among the many odd things about standard varieties of English is the “s” at the end of “knocks” as in “She knocks on the door.” If you were to change “she” to “I,” “you,” “we,” or “they,” the “s” woul …
  • Whether it's "in shambles" or "a shambles," it's still a mess
    If your life is in shambles, you probably have bigger things to worry about than grammar. This week's topic comes from a listener who wanted to know the origin of "in shambles." Soon af …