Category: Grammar and writing help

stationery

Stationary or stationery?

This pair of confusable homophones (words that sound the same) and near-homographs (words that are spelled the same) causes no end of spelling-related fails: you can spot errors in places as diverse as blogs and online newspapers to scientific writing – no one seems immune! Does this matter? In my view, it does. These words […]

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side effects affects

Quiz: affect or effect?

Is it ‘side effect’ or ‘side affect’? Take this quiz to find out if you’re an ace at telling apart these two tricky words!

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school

7 grammar myths you learned in school

Grammar can be tough. There are a lot of rules to follow, and a lot to wrap your head around. Some of the rules we learn in school, though, aren’t exactly accurate. While some function as helpful guidelines for style and form, other so-called ‘rules’ are inventions, or ‘superstitions,’ as the lexicographer Henry W. Fowler […]

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10 tips to improve your writing

We’ve recently uploaded many writing tips for different types of writing to OxfordDictionaries.com, from crafting your CV to creating a short story. Today’s post gathers together sneak previews from each of the ten writing pages; follow the links to read more advice about ten different areas of writing. 1. Better writing: guide readers through what […]

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Video: what do you call a new word made by combining two other words?

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I object! (To the Russian case system)

Russian: what’s not to love? Alluringly exotic alphabet? Check. Tantalizingly challenging vocabulary? Check. Enough espionage associations to spice up even the dullest of online dating profiles? Check. But when you’re learning Russian, it’s the grammar that gets you. Like Latin, Tamil, German, and Finnish – to name a few – Russian relies on a complex […]

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Video: what is the Oxford comma?

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Passed or past?

Slumped in a post-festive food coma? Feeling the after-effects of watching too much stultifying TV? If so, perhaps the last thing you want to ponder is the distinction between passed and past. On the other hand, you may be eager for some virtuous self-improvement to begin the New Year on an upbeat note. If you’ve […]

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