Category: Grammar and writing help

Why English is so hard to learn: adjective order

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The -ee suffix is typically added to a verb to form a noun denoting a person who is affected by the action expressed by the verb.

Escapee or escaper? Investigating –ee suffixes (and why they’re not always obvious)

‘-ee means something happens to you; -er means you do something: so employee, invitee (if you must), refugee but attender, escaper, etc, rather than attendee, escapee, etc.’ So says the Guardian style guide, and similar advice is given in many other usage guides. But is this the whole story? Attendee and escapee are now much […]

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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?

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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