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 stick with provide with an incentive, express enthusiasm, and be a spectator. Do they have a point? […]
How well do you know nouns? Here’s a quick quiz to see whether you can identify count nouns, mass nouns, proper nouns, verbal nouns, and every other type of noun under the sun. Find out more about nouns.
A horse walks into a bar. The barman comes up and says ‘Why the long face?’ I’m rather fond of all those ‘A man/horse/alien etc. walks into a bar’ jokes, aren’t you? Some are particularly amusing, such as the following one, which fellow language-lovers should appreciate: Past, present, and future walked into a bar – […]
What’s the difference between advise and advice? Do you know? Does it matter? Well, yes, it does, because apart from the obvious fact that one has the ending -ise and the other -ice, there’s a highly significant distinction: one’s a verb and one’s a noun. These grammatical and spelling differences involve a related semantic one […]
In the last fortnight, the Oxford English Dictionary saw a massive spike in searches for the verb ‘medal’. Searches for ‘medal’ on our free Oxford Dictionaries Online site also increased dramatically at the end of July and have remained high for two weeks. While we at Oxford Dictionaries couldn’t possibly comment on the reason for […]