GBBO language

How has the Great British Bake Off changed the English language?

The Great British Bake Off has sadly come to an end, but perhaps the series will live on in our words. We’ve been delving into our New Monitor Corpus—a giant word bank which we use to track changes in a word’s frequency from month to month—and we’ve investigated some of this year’s Bake Off vocabulary, […]

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confused man in a paper bag

Quiz: can you tell apart these confusing words?

There are dozens and dozens of pairs of words in English that are easy to mix up. Test your skills with our confusing words quiz, which covers all of your gnarly pairs, from affect / effect to defuse / diffuse and many, many more! If you find yourself lost, you might want to check out our list […]

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confused man

31 commonly confused words to watch out for

Let’s be honest: English can be a really confusing language. There are pairs upon pairs of words that seem specially designed to torment – sometimes differing by just a single letter – it’s not just language learners who have to be wary but also regular users of English. Here is a collection of some of […]

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Video: practice or practise?

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Dessert island

5 cartoons of confused words

Do you like walking around with bear feet? What would you take with you to a dessert island? There are many words in the English language that sound the same, but have very different meanings. These cartoons will show you just how awkward it can get with even the slightest spelling mistake… Bear feet or bare feet? Bear and bare are often confused […]

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OMG cat

X factor, and 8 other words that are older than you think

We’ve looked a few times at words that are older than you think, and the series continues apace: here are nine further words that you might think are recent additions to the language, but have actually been spoken and written for rather longer than you may imagine. X factor (1930) The TV show didn’t invent […]

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8 German words in English and their pronunciation

When one language borrows from another, words often adapt to the linguistic conditions of the recipient language. This is also the case with the German loanwords that have entered the English language. In German, nouns are always capitalised, but in English, they might end up following the lowercase rule. Some might even change their definition […]

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World Teachers' Day

World Teachers’ Day – how did our teachers get us interested in words?

Teaching is arguably one of the hardest jobs around. It is becoming increasingly demanding, and teachers are faced with the challenge of serving these demands with fewer and fewer resources. So on World Teachers’ Day we wanted to pay homage to the people that got us interested in words from a young age. We asked […]

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