Category: English in use

seafood

Quiz: how well do you know the language of seafood?

Consider yourself a bit of an oyster aficionado or a sushi connoisseur? Clams to crayfish, scallops to salmon: if you take pride in your knowledge of all things seafood, now’s the time to prove yourself. Take this quiz to determine how well you really know your seafood terminology!

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Do you know what words a book lover should know?

10 words for book lovers

We rather suspect that you’re fond of reading – correct us if we’re being too hasty, but you have that look about you. Whether you’re reading at the gloaming (i.e. the best time of the day to read) or dawn, or in your bed or near the inglenook  – the undisputed best place to read in the winter […]

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Not French

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“Soon can mean in one second, Soon can mean in one year. Soon is a terrible word.” - Heinrich Böll

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wallace

Reflections on language by… David Foster Wallace

The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus included sections labelled ‘reflections’ by some notable writers, including Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, and Joshua Ferris. In the second of an occasional series looking at these reflections, we’ve excerpted David Foster Wallace’s thoughts about various words. All the extracts below are by David Foster Wallace, and can be found in […]

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There are a surprising number of tiger idioms in English.

11 tiger idioms and phrases

Native to the forests of Asia, this feline has snuck its way into several common – and a few less common – terms and phrases over the years. Besides referring to the cat, the word tiger is also used to describe someone ‘fierce, determined, or ambitious’. Thanks to the cat’s distinctive markings, the word is […]

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fish

Animal Talk: animal-related adjectives in the English language

The names of animals are probably among the first things learnt by a student of a language, yet knowing the names of animals doesn’t always help when it comes to their associated adjectives—in fact, sometimes it can be downright confusing. Latin-derived adjectives Most of the formal adjectives that relate to animals are not derived from […]

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church

Words you learn at the vicarage

I share something in common with Jane Austen, Tori Amos, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Vincent van Gogh: I am the child of a clergyman. Growing up in a Church of England vicarage has given me insights to faith, diplomacy, and how best to run a coffee morning – but it’s also a window into a very […]

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