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.


This Boss 'Strived' To Be a Regular Guy Oct 21, 2020

Q. "My boss insisted on using the word 'strived' in a letter he wrote to an important client. I researched the word at a library, and everyone there said the past tense of 'strive' is 'strove.' Which is correct: 'strived' or 'strove'?" — George... Read More


A Glimpse Into the Kitchen of Language Oct 14, 2020

We often create words in the same way we prepare delicious foods: We slice them, dice them, season them, shake them and bake them. Voila! Can you determine the method used to form the words in each set: 1) piano, aps, abs, sophs. 2) maudlin, tawdry, ... Read More


Studying History on Its Own Terms Oct 07, 2020

"The British are coming! The British are coming!" Ah, how Paul Revere's historic call to arms still echoes in the ears of all patriotic Americans! There's only one small problem: Paul Revere probably never uttered those words. Because Americans were ... Read More


Give These Sentences a CAT Scan Sep 30, 2020

Cats have nine lives, and this quiz on verb use has nine questions. Choose the correct verbs and you'll avoid a grammatical "cat"astrophe: 1. The cat (use, used) to roam at night. 2. Did the cat (use, used) to roam at night? 3. The cat is carrying wh... Read More