Archive for January, 2012

  • Think before you write

    Posted by on January 31, 2012

    “Short words are best, and old words, when short, are best of all.” Thus, quoting Winston Churchill, began an editorial in The Economist that consisted entirely of one-syllable words. It went on: “AND, not for the first time, he was right: short words are best. Plain they may be, but that is their strength. They […]

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

    Posted by on January 31, 2012

    In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. This week’s language tip helps with key words which are used for talking or writing about names. first name / given name: a […]

    Read the full article
  • Still looking up

    Posted by on January 30, 2012

    Madonna’s recent moonlighting stint as a dictionaries marketing executive is still paying dividends: another thousand people have looked up reductive since we discussed it last Monday, and it’s been the single most looked up word for the last two weeks. If you remember, Madge had said of a Lady Gaga song: “When I heard it […]

    Read the full article
  • Trending now!

    Posted by on January 30, 2012

    Humans never outgrow a fascination with new playthings, but after a certain age it is unseemly and unrealistic to expect a steady stream of surprise gifts from doting parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. One consolation for this loss is new words: clever coinages come along all the time to supply our craving for novelty. A […]

    Read the full article
  • Language and words in the news – 27th January, 2012

    Posted by on January 27, 2012

    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 […]

    Read the full article
  • Open Dictionary word of the week: takeaway

    Posted by on January 26, 2012

    takeaway (noun) an important piece of information to remember from e.g. a meeting or presentation The most arresting takeaway last October at the Frankfurt presentation was that adding “enhanced metadata” elements to a basket of backlist books not only stopped their normal sales decay, it reversed it and actually made sales of those books rise […]

    Read the full article
  • Macmillan Dictionary Love English Awards: update 5 and final

    Posted by on January 25, 2012

    We’re almost there, with just five more days of voting left. Over 23,000 votes have been cast in the last two months, showing love in abundance for the useful, entertaining (and sometimes a bit weird) English language-loving websites and blogs that are in the running. If you have been nominated, results will be officially announced […]

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

    Posted by on January 24, 2012

    In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. This week’s language tip helps with the noun knowledge. Knowledge is an uncountable noun, so it is never used […]

    Read the full article
  • Apostrophe apostasy

    Posted by on January 23, 2012

    Learning a rule or convention in language gives people a secure footing in an area of usage. When the convention is ignored or challenged, this can undermine the pocket of security and offend people’s sense of what is proper and necessary. This might help explain the levels of anxiety and outrage we see when, for […]

    Read the full article
  • Madonna speaks

    Posted by on January 23, 2012

    In 2011, there were 252 searches for the word reductive in the Macmillan Dictionary. So in the 7 days from 13th to 19th January inclusive, we would have expected to see 5. In fact, we had well over 2,000 individual searches for the word reductive. The reason, it would appear, was a comment made by […]

    Read the full article