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

Canadian English: part two

Canadian English

Canadianisms Far more than any other country, Canadians are known for turning their statements into rhetorical questions by adding eh? to the end, or even the middle, of a sentence. It’s a useful way to involve the listener in what is being said, whether by inviting agreement or just by checking to see whether the […]

Brassies, bunkers, and bogeys: celebrating The Open

Brassies, bunkers, and bogeys

The game of golf has a long established history – the OED records the word as far back as 1457. From the moment when the first ball was addressed and the subsequent first putt was sunk, the English language has been enriched with golfing terms, some of which are illustrated in the accompanying word cloud. […]

Abattoir to zigzag: English words of French origin

Arc de Triomphe

To commemorate the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 we are looking at English words of French origin. Hover over the image below to discover a selection of English words derived from French, from abattoir to zigzag. Click on the words to go straight to the dictionary entries.   AndrewHorne at en.wikipedia [GFDL […]

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Harry Potter and the Linguistic Innovator

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 world premiere in Trafalgar Square

This is not a shockingly grammatical sequel to the acclaimed series, but a chance to revel in the magically inventive language of the Harry Potter books. The release of the final Harry Potter film this week marks the end of an era for a generation of book and film lovers, having made author J. K. […]

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Newspapers and briefcases: vestigial words in today’s English

Newspapers and briefcases

Read all about it… Recent events in the UK involving the News of the World Sunday newspaper have prompted a great deal of discussion and turmoil regarding what is and is not the proper role of a newspaper in society. In particular, allegations of phone hacking have drawn great scrutiny and, as a result of […]

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What’s in a name…

What's in a name ...

The most eagerly awaited celebrity birth since, oh well, the last one, has finally happened and congratulations go to David and Victoria Beckham on the birth of Harper Seven. Ever since the pregnancy was announced, speculation has been rife as to what name would be bestowed upon their fourth child. And now we know (and […]

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‘Hacker’ is a badge of honour where I come from

Hacker

A trait that is common to logophiles everywhere is the linguistic pet peeve: a word or phrase that sets our teeth on edge when we encounter it.  A colleague of mine cringes whenever she hears someone refer to an initialism as an acronym, for example. Pet peeves One of my pet peeves relates to my […]

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Why we love to hate ‘liaise’

Liaise

Everyone has a list of words that set their teeth on edge. Some appear on more lists than others. Liaiseis a prime example – a word that attracts a passionate linguistic hatred that does not match its meaning or length. Why is this? Liaise looks pleasant enough, and is downright euphonious once you wrap your […]

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