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  • Language tip of the week: idea

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of  language tips we look at how metaphor is used to express some common concepts in English. This week’s tip looks at metaphors used to talk about ideas: An idea or theory is like a […]

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  • 10 most popular blog posts in 2014: Part 1

    It’s an annual tradition here on this blog to take a look back at the archive of the previous year and share with you the 10 most popular blog posts. 2014 was another busy year on Macmillan Dictionary Blog, with new series on Life Skills and Real Grammar, as well as popular favourites language tips and […]

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  • Get organized with the BuzzWord calendar

    Have you made any New Year’s resolutions this year? Most resolutions go out of the window as quickly as they’ve been made, so this year Macmillan Dictionary will help those whose goal is being more organized! To help you get set up and plan for the year ahead, we have created a BuzzWord calendar for […]

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  • #Blacklivesmatter and words of the year

    The final, and foremost, Word of the Year selection in language lovers’ winter calendar is the American Dialect Society’s, which took place in Portland earlier this month. With no clear front-runner for its overall WOTY, it was open to surprises – like last year’s winner because. And a surprise duly occurred: the word of 2014 […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 16th January, 2015

    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: student

    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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  • Real Grammar Quiz, Question 5: Is it OK to use impact as a verb?

    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 evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about grammar and […]

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  • Make your voice heard!

    Before Christmas we shared with you the list of nominees for the Love English Awards 2014. Today the voting has started! With 35 blogs, 43 websites and 30 Facebook pages nominated, there are plenty of candidates to choose from. Who will be the winners this year? Make sure you vote before 9 February to make […]

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  • Passives: the long and the short of it

    In a previous post, I mentioned that the passive without an agent (also called the ‘short passive’) is one of a dozen ways of reporting and commenting on events and situations without specifying an actor – e.g. “The fire had been fully extinguished by yesterday morning.” But why do we use the passive with an […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 9th January, 2015

    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 […]

    Read the full article
  • Language tip of the week: happy

    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 feeling happy: Feeling happy and […]

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  • Accent prejudice in the mainstream

    The rules of TV-watching change at Christmas, with the result that even a habitual tube-avoider like me can end up seeing shows like Channel 4’s Big Fat Quiz of the Year. I didn’t expect it to contain material of any great sociolinguistic interest, but it did, and it wasn’t good. On at least three occasions […]

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Recent Comments

Recent Comments
  • Posted by Stan to Flat adverbs are exceeding fine on January 24, 2015 There is an adverb soonly, but it's rare; fastly is a bit less so, but would be considered archaic and non-standard. Yet I've seen people argue that "drive fast" is incorrect even when they realise "drive fastly" isn't available. MWDEU says fast and soon "have managed to survive as the only choice". This doesn't mean they get kicked out of the flat adverbs club. What's flat about them is that they are adverbs that don't end...

  • Posted by Marisa Fidalgo to Love English Awards 2014 – the nominees! on January 22, 2015 Thanks a lot for nominating Bites and Bits of English. It's a honour to be here with a blog I created only to have fun with my students.

  • Posted by gill francis to Flat adverbs are exceeding fine on January 22, 2015 Okay ‘surely’ will be banned from my lexicon! I agree – the defining feature of flat adverbs is that they look like their associated adjectives. BUT as I said, you include ‘soon’ as a flat adverb. ‘Soon’ doesn’t have an associated adjective; it is just a regular adverb, like ‘sometimes’ or ‘never’, or 'pronto'. So what’s flat about it? As for ‘fast’, I agree that it has the same form as the adjective ‘fast’. I thought...

  • Posted by Stan to Flat adverbs are exceeding fine on January 22, 2015 Dr. Goodword: That's a good point; ambiguity can indeed arise. Gill: Surely the word surely should be a warning sign! The defining feature of flat adverbs, per paragraph 2, is that they look like their associated adjectives. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage defines a flat adverb as "an adverb that has the same form as its related adjective"; it notes that "most of them compete with an -ly form", from which we can infer that some...

  • Posted by gill francis to Flat adverbs are exceeding fine on January 21, 2015 Stan: You include 'fast', 'long', 'far', and 'soon' in your examples of flat adverbs. But surely the only defining feature of a flat adverb is that it has an alternative form ending in '-ly, like 'quick' and 'slow'? Adverbs are a ragbag word class, and hundreds of them don't end in '-ly'. The adverbs 'fast' and 'soon', for example, are just regular adverbs. The 'unnecessary contention' you mention relates mainly to adverbs which have an alternative...