Tag: English usage

ize ise

-ize or -ise?

Many people visiting the World (non-US) version of our website ask us why we spell words such as realize, finalize, and organize with ‘-ize’ spellings, rather than ‘-ise’. There’s a widespread belief that these spellings belong only to American English, and that British English should use the ‘-ise’ forms instead, i.e. realise, finalise, and organise. […]

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domino

Affect versus effect

Every month, affect is one of the most searched-for words in Oxford Dictionaries Online. Its high ranking in our search logs is probably because a lot of people are confused about the difference between affect and effect, two words which have almost the same spelling, but very different meanings. The basic difference between them is […]

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Word trends: viral

Computer virus

Viral now has more meanings than it used to. In the twentieth century, you would only have encountered this word in the physiological context of diseases: Rabies is an acute viral infection that is extremely rare in the UK. A quarter of the residents had high levels of viral hepatitis. In the twenty-first century, most […]

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u-turn

Reverting back to another language no-no

In my fearless quest to seek out and eradicate lazy, ineffective, or just downright inaccurate English, the latest blip to appear on my radar was an example of redundancy (aka tautology), which appeared on a medical website. By returning back to a more traditional diet they become healthier and stronger. Why is this raising my […]

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box

Try thinking outside the box!

When it’s all said and done at the end of the day, I can say I made a difference in the world. Does the above cliché-ridden sentence (taken from a transcript of a 2004 TV show) make you cringe? If so, join the club (whoops, another one). Although it can be hard to avoid them, […]

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