Tag: grammar

Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

How ethical is it to start working in a country where you don’t speak the local language? Before I started teaching English in Poland, this question didn’t trouble me in the slightest. When I taught in Sardinia, I spoke enough Italian to get by; and nobody in Cambodia expected foreign teachers to speak any Khmer […]

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corpus misspellings

Top ten misspelled words in our corpus

For many students of English, and some native speakers as well, English spelling can be confusing given all the idiosyncrasies and apparent inconsistencies that make up the written language. As Ian Brookes has argued in a previous blog post, the difficulties partly arise from the fact that the spellings of English words reflect their origins […]

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What are the plurals of ‘octopus’, ‘hippopotamus’, and ‘syllabus’?

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Video: bring or take?

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Should we capitalize the word Internet?

Should you capitalize the word Internet?

The question of whether the word internet should be capitalized is so passionately debated and rife with controversy that it has its own Wikipedia article. The latest salvo in the capitalization wars came from the Associated Press Stylebook, which announced that as of June 1, the AP’s style will stipulate that internet and web (with […]

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Video: ‘enquire’ or ‘inquire’?

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Your-vs.-youre

Your vs. you’re

Similar to other pairs like whose and who’s, the pairing you’re and your often causes confusion. In fact, it’s not hard to find hundreds of mistakes bearing this out in the Oxford English Corpus, a collection of examples drawn from around the Internet. Those your vs you’re mistakes include the following: X You wanted sumptuous and […]

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back-formations

The hypocrisy of hating back-formations

Does the verb incent make you grind your teeth? Can you cope with enthuse? Does spectate rankle? There are plenty of purported language purists in the world with a professed distaste for back-formations; those who would much rather provide with an incentive, express enthusiasm, and be a spectator. Do they have a point? What is […]

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