essay writing

4 things to do before you start writing an essay

As tempting as it might be to just launch into the process of writing, there are important steps to take before actually setting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were). These four steps in essay preparation should give you a solid footing before you start the essay-writing process. 1. Plan out your […]

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white house

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of the word FLOTUS?

Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English. Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, […]

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david letterman late show

Top 10 teen movies … that are quoted in the OED

In saying goodbye to David Letterman this evening, we also say goodbye to one of his most-loved segments: the Top Ten list. In honor of Letterman, we have pulled together our own Top Ten. You already knew that the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) covers a wide swath of the English language, but you probably didn’t […]

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golden compass

The language of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Northern Lights (published in the US as The Golden Compass), the first novel in Philip Pullman’s hugely successful His Dark Materials trilogy. In the preface, the author tells us that the story is set in a universe ‘like ours, but different in many ways’. One […]

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Video: what is the origin of the word snob?

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flower bouquet

Say it with flowers: floral expressions and phrases

With the opening of the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, visitors from all over the world will once again flock to London in their thousands to keep up with the latest gardening trends and enjoy the vibrant colours of the flowers on display. But besides their obvious visual attraction, flowers can also be of particular […]

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clothes cat

12 nouns that are always plurals

If you, like me, are a half-ashamed watcher of various fashion reality shows, you might be familiar with phrases like I’d like to pair this with a navy pant or Maybe a smoky eye and a red lip. There is an assumption of an implied plural when the singular versions of these words are used […]

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“Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are those that other people have lent me.” - Anatole France

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