Reflections on language by… David Foster Wallace

The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus included sections labelled ‘reflections’ by some notable writers, including Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, and Joshua Ferris. In the second of an occasional series looking at these reflections, we’ve excerpted David Foster Wallace’s thoughts about various words. All the extracts below are by David Foster Wallace, and can be found in […]

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Video: ‘I’ or ‘me’?

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foreign words

7 foreign words you need to know

While Caroline James has already challenged the belief that there’s anything like an untranslatable word, we nonetheless felt inspired to explore the lexicon of foreign languages in search of interesting words that don’t have an exact equivalent in English. Such an endeavour can often yield amusing results, but also give insight into the peculiarities of […]

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11 tiger terms and phrases

Native to the forests of Asia, this feline has snuck its way into several common – and a few less common – terms and phrases over the years. Besides referring to the cat, the word tiger is also used to describe someone ‘fierce, determined, or ambitious’. Thanks to the cat’s distinctive markings, the word is […]

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Animal Talk: animal-related adjectives in the English language

The names of animals are probably among the first things learnt by a student of a language, yet knowing the names of animals doesn’t always help when it comes to their associated adjectives—in fact, sometimes it can be downright confusing. Latin-derived adjectives Most of the formal adjectives that relate to animals are not derived from […]

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Video: is ‘irregardless’ a real word?

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Words you learn at the vicarage

I share something in common with Jane Austen, Tori Amos, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Vincent van Gogh: I am the child of a clergyman. Growing up in a Church of England vicarage has given me insights to faith, diplomacy, and how best to run a coffee morning – but it’s also a window into a very […]

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5 tips for becoming a better creative writer

Creative writing requires a different approach from other types of writing, and can often intimidate due to the wide gamut of possibilities out there. Drawing from the resources on creative writing available on OxfordDictionaries.com, we have selected a few quick tips to help get you on the right track. 1. Know your audience An important […]

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