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  • Language tip of the week: doctor

    Posted by on November 27, 2014

    Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc.

    This week’s language tip helps with the differences in usage in American and British English of the word doctor:

    In the UK, a doctor who works in a local community, not in a hospital, is called a GP or a general practitioner (or sometimes a family doctor), and has the title Dr:

    Could I have an appointment with Dr Jones, please?

    But surgeons (=doctors who perform operations on people) and vets (=doctors who look after animals) are referred to by the titles Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss.

    Dentists (=doctors who look after people’s teeth) in the UK used to use these titles, but nowadays many of them prefer the title Dr.

    In the US, however, all of these doctors use the title Dr.

    More language tips

    Browse the list under the ‘language tips‘ tag here on the blog for more useful language tips.

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  • Love English Awards 2014 – update 1

    The Love English Awards 2014 are in full swing! The annual public contest, hosted by Macmillan Dictionary, was launched three weeks ago and to date we’ve received almost 250 nominations for ‘best blog’, ‘best website’ and ‘best Facebook page’ about the English language. We’ll be giving away some exciting prizes to three lucky people who […]

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  • Life skills tip of the week: approval and disapproval

    As part of this year’s pragmatics series, we bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself. The previous language tip looked at some of the ways of adding emphasis to what you say and write. This week’s tip looks at a few of the very many ways of expressing approval and […]

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  • The vogue for banning words

    I’m not a fan of banning words. Even moist. For one thing it’s impossible, so I should say I’m not in favour of attempts to ban words either, even when those attempts aren’t serious. It strikes me as futile and rash, a casual shot at censorship motivated by capricious dislike of a word that perhaps […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 21st November, 2014

    This post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular. Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link […]

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  • Language tip of the week: intelligence

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this new series of  language tips we will be looking at how metaphor is used to express some common concepts in English. This week’s tip looks at metaphors used to talk about intelligence: Intelligence is like a […]

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  • Real Grammar Quiz, Question 3: Bored with it, or Bored of it?

    Real Grammar isn’t about the made-up or outdated “rules” which some people try to make us follow. As we said in the introduction to this new series from Macmillan Dictionary, Real Grammar is based on the evidence of language in use. In the coming months, we’ll be bringing you blog posts and videos that give […]

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  • New pragmatics lesson plan: ways of expressing criticism

    Have you seen our latest lesson plan by author Jonathan Marks? This new resource is part of the ‘expressing yourself’ series and helps learners review and consolidate ways of expressing criticism. What’s included? Worksheets for students, tips for teachers, as well as an answer key and suggested follow-up activities. All pragmatics lesson plans – including […]

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  • Word roots and routes: band, bend, bind

    Next in a series of posts exploring some of the ‘roots’ and ‘routes’ of English vocabulary. What do all the following have in common? a jazz band a band of values, prices, ages etc (eg a higher or lower tax band) a rubber band a broadband connection a bend in the road bending the rules […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 14th November, 2014

    This post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular. Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link […]

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  • Language tip of the week: professor

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc. This week’s language tip helps with the differences in usage in American and British English of the word […]

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  • Agitate for a higher milk yield

    Today’s guest  authors are František Čermák and Věra Schmiedtová.  Professor Čermák is a former director of the Institute of the Czech National Corpus, Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague. He is a corpus linguist, general linguist and Czech linguist, with a particular interest in the lexicon and phraseology. Dr Schmiedtová is a corpus […]

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  • Overall, there’s nothing really wrong with it

    Some words may seem harmless but attract prolonged disapproval from critics. One such word is overall, in its use both as an adjective meaning ‘considering something as a whole, rather than its details or the different aspects of it’ (the overall result), and as an adverb – usually a sentence adverb – meaning ‘when everything […]

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Recent Comments

Recent Comments
  • Posted by gill francis to Not the same thing as writing, speaking, is it? on November 17, 2014 Jonathan: No not really. One factor is surely that the spoken language used to be thought somehow inferior to the written, and written language was the basis for grammatical description and hence prescription. In the last few decades, with the internet, social media, texting etc, people have learnt to write as they speak, and invented a whole new set of conventions for doing so. It’s partly to do with speed – the message is the important...

  • Posted by Stan to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on November 17, 2014 Dave: 'You take a piece of meat with you' is a classic. The Maxell ad is good, though I suspect improving the sound quality could never clear up all the misinterpretations of that song... Alma: As a child I assumed it was 'a little alien' too, though not a jam maker. 'Crap' seems to recur as a misheard word, what with your husband's mondegreen, the Roy Orbison song, and the time I told my father I'd gone...

  • Posted by Oisín Carey to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on November 16, 2014 Fats Domino was a source of lots of these for us as kids, including 'You used to use my arms as rella' (umbrella) and something like 'Jambalaya cause big fun, feelin' a gum-bowl / 'Cause tonight I'm gonna sing my majella meal' (Jambalaya and a craw fish pie and filet gumbo / 'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma Cher Amio). Pretty much the whole of Jambalaya we were winging it!

  • Posted by Jonathan Marks to Not the same thing as writing, speaking, is it? on November 16, 2014 Thanks, Gill. Yes, I know the LGSWE. Have you got a theory about why it's taken writers so long to hear what spoken English is like?

  • Posted by Alma Conway to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on November 15, 2014 Oh, and I forgot about my husband's mishearing in his distant childhood of the second line of the chorus to the 1970s country hit 'It's a fine time to leave me Lucille', which he was convinced went on 'with four hundred children and a crap in the fields'.