Category: English in use

‘Advise’ and ‘advice’: what’s the difference?

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Louise Brooks was an American actress and dancer widely known as a 'flapper'.

And the Word of the Year 1915 is… flapper

True, as best we can tell, there was no actual selection of a Word of the Year a century ago. The modern phenomenon of choosing a Word of the Year began in 1990 with the American Dialect Society. The idea came from Time magazine’s choosing a Person of the Year each year, not by some […]

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‘License’ or ‘licence’: what’s the difference?

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Robert Louis Stevenson

7 language facts you didn’t know about Robert Louis Stevenson

Edinburgh-born writer Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 18 December 1894) is famous all over the world for his wondrous and inventive use of language. But what are some of the specific ways in which he related to words, in his works and working life? The Teller of Tales Stevenson lived the last few […]

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9 words to use instead of ‘toilet’

Lavatory, privy, loo – we’re not exactly lacking synonyms for toilet in everyday language. Still, we thought it might be fun to dig out a few of the more obscure and curious ones that have been used throughout the ages. House of Lords House of Lords has been around as a cheeky slang term for […]

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‘Compliment’ or ‘complement’: what’s the difference?

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charlie brown peanuts

Our favourite words from Peanuts

Today sees the launch of the new Peanuts Movie, based on the popular comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Whether you like the strip or not, its popularity, and its ability to cross generational and language gaps cannot be questioned. At its peak, Peanuts was published in over 2,600 newspapers, in 21 languages, and boasted […]

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National Novel Writing Month fail

8 ways to fail at NaNoWriMo

As failed novelists, thus far at least, we thought we’d be able to give you some counter advice – what not to do if you want to get a novel under your belt during November. 1) Discover a television show you really have to binge watch ‘TV is a great way to learn about crafting […]

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