There are 15 posts.
‘To be’: the most simple, unassuming and innocent-looking verb. Yet it is jam-packed with more meanings, forms, and uses than any other English word – 1,812 to be exact. When researching the lexical mountain that is the Oxford English Dictionary’s entry for ‘be’, David Crystal discovered a story of history, language, and identity – as […]more
Plump, dirty, and riddled with dimples, the humble potato rarely gets the attention it deserves — unless, of course, Peru and Chile are arguing over who produced them first. I think potatoes should fill us with a sense of awe. Hear me out. Not only can they be scalloped, mashed, and French fried, but potatoes […]more
Northern Irish is a rich and varied dialect, blending slang from Ireland, Scotland, and the north of England with some of its own unique creations. The following ten verbs are used in Northern Irish English, as well as other regional varieties, and are some of our favourites from the most recent update to OxfordDictionaries.com. Cowp […]more
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 […]more
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 – […]more
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 […]more