RedLine’s 10 Most Popular Posts for 2013

Here they are, folks: RedLine’s 10 most popular posts for 2013. We ranked the following posts according to unique page views between January 1 and December 9 of this year. This means that some of the posts are from 2012 but are still generating significant traffic.

Why the recap? Simple. You get a chance to see posts that you missed. We get a chance for more exposure through the clicks, likes, and shares of untold millions thousands hundreds. (Besides, every site needs a “year in review” list.)

Honorable mention: Other names for assault rifles disguise what they are

AK-47Okay—we said 10 posts, and this is 11. This post is the rare political opinion piece from RedLine. People in tune with language know that the words you choose can affect how people think about a given issue.

A year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, our position is no different: Calling assault rifles anything other than what they are is intellectually dishonest.

10. How to use “that” and “which”

10 most popular postsWe’re fairly certain that Rodin’s Thinker was mulling over restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. We discuss the difference between the two (think essential vs. nonessential) and provide example sentences.

Fun fact #1: Brits don’t make the distinction. Fun fact #2: We often drop the “that” from our embedded clauses anyway (The hat [that] I bought is red), so this post is intended only for the grammatically masochistic.

9. Internet users by region and language

10 most popular postsFor most of us, the Internet is only in one language: our own. But the Internet is a true polyglot, speaking dozens of languages. Chinese dethroned English in late 2012 and is now the most widely used language on the Internet.

Cool takeaway: To reach 80% of Internet users, you only need 12 languages. See which ones they are.

8. Hypernyms and hyponyms

10 most popular postsHypernyms and hyponyms are labels for different semantic categories. (Semantics is the branch of linguistics that deals with meaning.)

Classifying words has practical applications. The ability to tell a “parent” term from a “child” term is extremely useful for translators and interpreters, for example. Read the post to learn about hyponymy.

7. Examples of good writing

10 most popular postsHave you ever wondered what makes some writing good and some writing so unbelievably bad? We have, too. Of course, it’s our job to think about writing. We look at a few examples of well constructed sentences and explain why they work.

Check out our examples of good writing—and download our white paper for writing and editing tips while you’re at it.

6. Boston Red Sox player speaks four languages

10 most popular postsWhile watching the 2013 MLB playoffs, we were amazed to learn that Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts speaks four languages. Yep, you read that right. Four.

The best way to win a bar bet is by knowing some totally obscure fact. So here’s your free drink: Bogaerts speaks English, Spanish, Dutch, and…well, read the post.

5. Here’s why your kids should learn cursive

10 most popular postsThe French magazine Science et vie reported on the research surrounding cursive writing and reading ability. In a nutshell? The handwriting that you learned during your school days has actually made you a better reader.

As schools eliminate the teaching of cursive, kids’ reading ability may suffer. See why this post is our most-shared article on Facebook.

4. The ugliest font in the world

10 most popular postsAre we exaggerating? Well, maybe a little. But “Headline 2012,” the font used at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, is no head-turner.
(Or if it does turn heads, it’s only because people are staring in abject horror at the harsh, jagged lines that make up this unsightly typeface.)

This post saw a huge spike in traffic during the Games, but even in 2013, people want to know this font’s story. (Image: David Holt)

3. There’s with plural nouns

10 most popular postsIn this post we look at a “native-speaker error”—the kind of mistake that even educated people make when speaking their own language.

Using there’s followed by a plural noun is a prime example. Why do people do this? We don’t exactly know. But we know that it’s not limited to speech; this goof is making its way into people’s writing. Consider yourself warned, native speaker.

2. What’s the hardest language to learn?

10 most popular postsHave you decided to learn a second language? Good for you! Now comes the hard part: deciding which one to learn.

The difficulty of learning a given language depends in large part on what your native language is. Native English speakers will appreciate the infographic, but the points in this post apply to speakers of any language.

1. The pros and (big) cons of Google Translate

10 most popular postsOur most popular page addresses machine translation and its limitations. (There are many.) Google Translate is so popular that we couldn’t ignore the digital elephant in the room.

Sure, it’s free—but it isn’t reliable and it’s often totally inadequate. See why Google Translate is only for amateurs in the post that has had over 32,000 unique page views since its publication.

Think a friend would enjoy our content? Then share the list using the buttons below, you language enthusiast, you. Here’s to a language-filled 2014!

10 most popular posts

Matthew Kushinka is the founder and principal of RedLine Language Services LLC. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the company helps commercial clients create, revise, and translate their written content. Send your questions or comments to or connect with Matthew on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.