Articles, quizzes, and grammar tips for word-lovers everywhere

-ize or -ise?

-ize or -ise?

Many people visiting the World (non-US) version of our website ask us why we spell words such as realize, finalize, and organize with ‘-ize’ spellings, rather than ‘-ise’. There’s a widespread belief that these spellings belong only to American English, and that British English should use the ‘-ise’ forms instead, i.e. realise, finalise, and organise. […]

Affect-effect

Affect versus effect

Every month, affect is one of the most searched-for words in Oxford Dictionaries Online. Its high ranking in our search logs is probably because a lot of people are confused about the difference between affect and effect, two words which have almost the same spelling, but very different meanings. The basic difference between them is […]

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Reverting back to another language no-no

Tautology wordle

In my fearless quest to seek out and eradicate lazy, ineffective, or just downright inaccurate English, the latest blip to appear on my radar was an example of redundancy (aka tautology), which appeared on a medical website. By returning back to a more traditional diet they become healthier and stronger. Why is this raising my […]

Does English have a subjunctive?

Wordle

Many creatures on earth are able to communicate with each other in various ways. Dogs wag their tails when they are happy, and cats purr. Bees can tell each other in which direction to search for nectar. What bees can’t say… However, animal communication is very limited. For example, bees can only communicate to other […]

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Random apostrophization strikes again!

Apostrofly

The horror! The horror! Whilst battling through the Saturday afternoon crush in a local department store, I was confronted by the ghastly sight of a sign bearing a misused apostrophe – a little ‘eek’ escaped my lips, and it almost put me off my bargain-hunting mission: men’s pant’s What made it screamingly worse was that […]

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