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Beyond the Pale

By
Samantha Enslen, Writing for
2-minute read

Today on Grammar Girl, we’re doing something new. We’re giving you a quiz.

It’s about the phrase beyond the pale

You may know that beyond the pale describes something outside the limits of acceptable behavior.

For example, wearing a see-through dress to a wedding might be beyond the pale. Or tossing your used coffee cup onto the sidewalk. Both behaviors are outside the bounds of morality and plain ol’ good judgement.

Here’s the quiz. Do you think beyond the pale has to do with color? Perhaps it alludes to increasingly pale shades of morality … or mysterious activities that occur after the setting of a pale moon? 

Or do you think it has to do with sticks?

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About the Author

Samantha Enslen, Writing for Grammar Girl

Samantha Enslen is an award-winning writer who has worked in publishing for more than 20 years. She runs Dragonfly Editorial, an agency that provides copywriting, editing, and design for scientific, medical, technical, and corporate materials. Sam is the vice president of ACES, The Society for Editing, and is the managing editor of Tracking Changes, ACES' quarterly journal.

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