Child reading a book in a garden

Enid Blyton in the OED

Enid Blyton (1897 – 1968) was an English writer of children’s books published from 1922 until her death in 1968. Among her literary creations are Noddy, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, The Faraway Tree, school stories set at St Clare’s and Mallory Towers, and the adventure series featuring the Famous Five and the Secret […]

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Nonapology and apology tour have been added to Oxford Dictionaries.

Regretoric: the rise of the nonapology apology and the apology tour

OxfordDictionaries.com is adding the nouns apology tour and nonapology. These additions represent two related steps in the evolution of the noun apology, which first entered English in the sixteenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Its earliest example is a book title: the 1533 Apologie of Syr Thomas More. That was More’s book […]

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Video: what is Shrove Tuesday?

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Donald Trump speaks at the First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua, NH, on April 18, 2015

Political profanity and crude creativity on the US Election campaign trail

As the snow starts to melt over here on the East Coast of the US following ‘Snowzilla’, thoughts are turning (and in the case of journalists, turned long ago) to the start of the primary season, when votes are cast to choose each party’s presidential nominee. It’s a complicated and sometimes very long process, beginning […]

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Placeholder names in English and other languages

Just your average Svensson: placeholder names in English and other languages

If you follow politics, you will have noticed that politicians often invoke the cliché of the ‘man in the street’. You may have heard them referring to the average Joe, Joe Bloggs, John Public, Joe Sixpack, etc. when talking to an audience, addressing everyone and no one, rather than someone in particular. The English language […]

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A dog is wreaking havoc in the kitchen.

‘Wreak havoc’ or ‘wreck havoc’?

The harsh Southwest sun can wreak havoc on a wood deck. Last summer’s hot, dry weather wrecked havoc on soybean seed production. Do you know which one is correct? English speakers often confuse ‘wreak havoc’ with ‘wreck havoc’. The confusion is more than understandable: both words are nearly homophones (they sound alike) and also are spelled […]

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National Year 2 Grammar Test

Can you beat a primary school pupil at a grammar test?

Do you know as much about grammar as a 7 year old? Try this quiz to see whether you could pass the UK National Year 2 Grammar Test. This quiz first appeared on the Global OUP website. 

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The Indian national flag. Lots of languages and dialects are spoken in India, including Indian English.

The English language, as spoken around the world, has several borrowings from languages native to India, including Hindi (‘dinghy’), Gujarati (‘bungalow’), Sanskrit (‘jungle’), among many other examples. Indian English, obviously, has even more of these types of terms. It also includes many formations of English words, as opposed to these loanwords. That means that Indian English […]

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