Video: is ‘snuck’ a real word?

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may I quote you on that

Quiz: May I Quote You on That?

Have a try at answering our selection of questions from Stephen Spector’s May I Quote You on That? A Guide to Grammar and Usage. Spector’s book uses illustrative quotations from famous writers, historical figures, and celebrities to teach standard English usage and grammar.

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Critters, jitters, and transmitters: the history of ‘bug’

Bug has various common uses, and none of them are particularly pleasant. Whether you’ve come down with a bug, found a bug on your phone, worried about the Millennium bug, or been bitten by a bug, you’re unlikely to welcome the bug into your life. But how did the word come to mean such disparate […]

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foreign goodbye

12 ways to say goodbye in other languages

Despite their different constructions and etymologies, expressions of parting across languages tend to communicate similar things, many of them outlining the hope of meeting again. English has borrowed many of the following foreign expressions of parting, so you’ve probably encountered some of these terms or their variants before. 1. adiós, adieu, addio, adeus Besides adieu […]

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Did you know that James Murray… was a keen philatelist?

2015 marks the centenary of the death of James Murray, the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Murray’s work as a lexicographer is well known, but there was a great deal more to him than lexicography. We are therefore marking the anniversary with an occasional series of articles highlighting other aspects of his life […]

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From teaspoons to tea-sots: the language of tea

Tea was first imported into Britain early in the 17th century, becoming very popular by the 1650s. The London diarist Samuel Pepys drank his first cup in 1660, as recorded in his famous diary: ‘I did send for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I had never drunk before’. The word tea […]

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Video: why do we use ‘first, second…’ and not ‘firstly, secondly…’?

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12 ways to call someone a fool

Do you have a foolish person in your life? Have you been searching for the perfect word to capture their sheer folly? Look no further than our list here; we have compiled some of the best words out there to describe your daft acquaintance. 1. dunce Poor John Duns Scotus … The followers of Scottish theologian […]

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