Video: what is the longest word in English?

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Passed or past?

Passed or past?

If you’ve ever been confused about using passed and past when writing, your brain cells may benefit from a short workout in the form of this mini-quiz. No punishing press-ups or unforgiving Lycra required – just read the following paragraph, and decide whether the words in bold type use the words passed and past correctly: […]

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12 language facts for the 12 days of Christmas

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English is filled with apple idioms

A list of apple idioms

Let’s have a look at the role of apple idioms in the English language… Good and bad apples Apples in expressions often seem to be used as an equivalent for the word thing or person. Somebody can be described as a good apple, bad apple, or rotten apple, and New York City even becomes the Big […]

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Bridges in the OED

Though many could describe New York City by its huge population (8 million), the stereotypical behaviors of its inhabitants (for whom efficient navigation of pedestrian traffic is an art), or even its pizza (thin crust, fold your slice in half), it is perhaps best known for its famous, globally-recognizable landmarks. But the Statue of Liberty […]

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See how familiar you are with these 35 drunk synonyms!

A timeline of drunk synonyms

In the timeline above, explore how the English language has developed over time through the lens of a crucial social function: the consumption of alcohol. Taken from David Crystal’s book Words in Time and Place, which is based on research in the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, the timeline covers over 35 drunk synonyms, […]

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S novym godom: enjoy a Russian happy new year!

Forget Christmas! In Russia – and in some other former Soviet countries – Novyi God (Новый Год, ‘New Year’) is arguably the most popular holiday of the year. Christmas was banned by the Bolsheviks following the 1917 Revolution and, although it is celebrated nowadays (more on that later), Russia’s biggest winter holiday remains a secular […]

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10 words that came to life 100 years ago

As 2014 draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look at some of the words celebrating their 100th birthday this year. While some of these may be antedated if older examples are found, the earliest evidence currently in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for each of the words below is 1914. So, join […]

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