About Rob Kyff

Rob Kyff

Rob Kyff

Rob Kyff is the language columnist for the Hartford Courant, as well as a teacher, editor and writer. His column  appears regularly in several newspapers across the country.

A native of Armonk, N.Y., Kyff earned a BA at Amherst College and an MA in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. In Minneapolis, he served as director of public information for a social-service agency and edited the employee magazine for a national retail chain.

He has taught English and history at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford since 1977 and also served as the school's director of public affairs, editor of its alumni magazine and advisor to the student newspaper.

His essays have appeared in many newspapers, including the Washington Post,

Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and Baltimore Sun, and his articles have appeared in Reader's Digest,American History and Northeast. He contributed to

Speaking Freely -- A guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley, published by Oxford University Press in 1997.

He has published two books: Word Up! - A Lively Look at English (Writers Club Press, 2000) and Once Upon a Word - True Tales of Word Origins (Tapestry Press, 2003).

He lives in West Hartford, Conn., with his family.


Will Verbal Clues Unmask 'Deep Thwart'? Sep 19, 2018

Linguistic sleuths are poking into every nook and cranny of the anonymous op-ed piece recently published in The New York Times. They're seeking any verbal tell — an eccentric word choice, a syntactic peculiarity, a stylistic signature — t... Read More


Should We Be Fraught Over 'Fraught'? Sep 12, 2018

When a political issue or policy becomes dominant and pervasive, we often develop a shorthand term for it. In the past, for instance, when people spoke of "abolition" and "prohibition," everyone knew they were referring to slavery and alcohol, respec... Read More


Comma Fare for the Fan Man Sep 05, 2018

Q. I'll often write sentences such as this: "My friend Michael is having a party." Should I place a comma before Michael's name? Like your column! — Blaine Greenfield, Asheville, N.C. A. Truth to be told, I'm often uncertain about this choice m... Read More