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

Leggings, jeggings, and meggings (oh my!)

Fashion catwalk

Fashion has always inspired innovation—on the runway and in the dictionary. With the autumn 2011 collections likely to be wowing the fashionistas this month during New York’s and London’s Fashion Weeks (good fashion is, after all, ahead of its time), here are the top twenty most outrageously stylish English words. As Mark Twain once said, […]

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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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Your friendly neighbourhood Corpus

Corpus

Shades of rhetoric: a hot-button word Much of the content and information found in Oxford dictionaries is provided by the Oxford English Corpus, a database of current English usage that has over two and a half billion words and is fully searchable, allowing shifts in meaning to be observed far more rapidly than they were […]

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Happy birthday, Charles Dickens

The Pickwick Papers

Charles Dickens, born just under 200 years ago on 7 February 1812, is one of the most quoted writers in English. In addition to quotations, such as ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …’ (A Tale of Two Cities), several colourful characters from his novels have permeated the English […]

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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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Which word is older?

Words

There are a number of people who decry some of the recent additions to the English language, contending that the new vocabulary is nothing more than a bunch of nonsense words that some computer-addicted kids made up (what is a w00t, anyway?).   Yet when we view some of these words out of context, it can […]

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It’s Groundhog Day

Groundhog

When I found out that today is Groundhog Day, my mind immediately jumped to the sense in which I know this phrase: when you feel as if you’re reliving a tedious experience over and over again – like Bill Murray’s character in the 1993 film. What, there’s a special day dedicated to this?! Of course, […]

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Happy Chinese New Year

Chinese lanterns

Chinese characters not displaying properly? This year the Chinese New Year begins on February 3rd, and people all around the world will be ringing in the year of the rabbit. Scaring away the beast Chinese New Year is a fifteen-day celebration beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ending on the […]

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