browse channels
View all posts
  • Language tip of the week: bathroom

    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 meaning of bathroom in American and British English. In […]

    Read the full article
  • Real Grammar Twitter chat

    To bring down the curtain on our Real Grammar series, we held our first-ever live Twitter chat with regular blog contributor Stan Carey this week. In case you missed it, you’ll find some of the highlights below courtesy of Stan’s specially-created Storify which he put together after the event. Just click through the slides to […]

    Read the full article
  • Real Grammar: a few concluding thoughts

    Real Grammar isn’t about the made-up or outdated “rules” which some people try to make us follow.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 our series of Real Grammar blog posts and videos, we have discussed frequently asked questions about grammar, and provided evidence-based answers. […]

    Read the full article
  • The double passive is suggested to be avoided (sometimes)

    In the annals of writing advice the passive voice is subject to much unfair criticism. In non-specialist contexts, such as news journalism and public discussion, the situation is still worse, with misidentification often added to the mix – many people who peremptorily condemn the passive are ignorant of what it is, let alone when it […]

    Read the full article
  • Language and words in the news – 19th June, 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: discover

    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 discovering something: Discovering things such as facts and […]

    Read the full article
  • Real Grammar Quiz, Question 10: can I use “however” at the beginning of a sentence?

    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 this series, we have brought you blog posts and videos that give evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about grammar and usage. There’s also […]

    Read the full article
  • Language and words in the news – 12th June, 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: pub or bar?

    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 is slightly different, as it was written in response to a reader’s comments on […]

    Read the full article
  • Ludic language and the game of grammar

    If asked to name the purpose of language, we might be inclined to say communication, or the imparting of information. But language has many purposes, some of which have nothing to do with sharing ideas or facts. If language were meant to serve solely as a means of exchanging information, why would we talk to […]

    Read the full article
  • Language and words in the news – 5th June, 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: nervous

    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 feeling nervous: When you feel nervous it is […]

    Read the full article

Recent Comments

Recent Comments
  • Posted by Michael Rundell to Real Grammar Quiz, Question 10: can I use "however" at the beginning of a sentence? on June 30, 2015 Thanks, Gill. I think I'm probably like you in preferring the comma after initial However, but I'd also noticed that the comma-less version is pretty common, and it's certainly nothing to get worked up about. With so many of these quiz questions, I sometimes wondered whether there was a real issue - and most of the people who answered the quiz seemed to agree that initial However, splitting an infinitive, etc were perfectly acceptable. But...

  • Posted by gill francis to Real Grammar Quiz, Question 10: can I use "however" at the beginning of a sentence? on June 29, 2015 Hi Michael, I agree of course that it is perfectly fine to use sentence-initial ‘however’, and I was amused to read Mr Gove’s opinions on the subject. I notice that all your examples have a comma after ‘however’, as does the original Quiz question: “However, the safest option is to reduce speed limits”. But there is also the comma-less use, in sentences like “However these plans were turned down by the Edinburgh Planning Committee”, a use...

  • Posted by Macmillan Dictionary to Blogs we like on June 25, 2015 Hi Luis. Thanks for telling us about your blog. We'll certainly take a look. Best wishes, Macmillan Dictionary.

  • Posted by Luis PW to Blogs we like on June 25, 2015 Hi! My name's Luis and I'm the owner of the website/blog called Keep Smiling English. I must say that I love your blog and dictionary and I basically share everything you guys publish. So last night, while browsing your latest posts, I came across this section of blogs you like, and I was wondering whether you'd have the time to take a quick look at my blog and, if you like it, include it among...

  • Posted by Michael Rundell to Real Grammar: a few concluding thoughts on June 23, 2015 I don't usually comment on my own posts, but...Stan Carey (in his Twitter chat about Real Grammar: @StanCarey #realgrammar) mentions an edict issued by UK Minister of Justice Michael Gove, instructing his officials on good grammar. His rules include not starting a sentence with However (see my post)! But David Crystal has demolished this ridiculous "rule" in a masterly post, here.