Category: Grammar and writing help

corpus misspellings

Top ten misspelled words in our corpus

For many students of English, and some native speakers as well, English spelling can be confusing given all the idiosyncrasies and apparent inconsistencies that make up the written language. As Ian Brookes has argued in a previous blog post, the difficulties partly arise from the fact that the spellings of English words reflect their origins […]

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American vs British pronunciation: zebra

American vs British pronunciation: 7 words to watch out for

Americans and Brits. There are some things that we have different words for (zucchini vs courgette, stroller vs pram), and some words we use for different things (always make sure you’ve agreed on a common meaning of pants before you broach the topic). Some words we spell differently – the pesky ‘u’ to remember to […]

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Why English is so hard to learn: silent letters

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What are the plurals of ‘octopus’, ‘hippopotamus’, and ‘syllabus’?

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Does the BBC dictate proper pronunciation?

BBC English: does it dictate proper pronunciation?

Language use and notions of correctness have always been central matters for large sections of British society – especially those concerned with class, status, and education. Throughout its history, the BBC played a central role in disseminating what is considered ‘proper’ pronunciation. In its early days, the BBC was even meant to not only entertain […]

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Video: bring or take?

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swallows arguing

9 words to argue about with your friends

When it comes to pronunciation, there’s always something to argue about. And we’ve all done it –whether standing in line at Starbucks arguing about espresso or throwing down about whether or not to enunciate the ‘r’ in the second month of the year. So here’s more grist for the argument mill. 1. timbre If you’re […]

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Use these medical pronunciations to avoid being embarrassed at the doctor's office

Avoid embarrassment at the doctor’s office

There’s really nothing worse than pronouncing an obvious word incorrectly – especially when you do it in front of someone who’s an authority on the word. The doctor’s office is one of many places where we find ourselves in this sort of situation. Let’s have a quick look at some words that may cause an […]

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