Author Archive

  • Language tip of the week: Corp. or corps?

    Posted by on April 26, 2012

    In this weekly post, we bring English language learners useful tips on tricky areas of the language. 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 is about the differences in pronunciation between Corp. and corps. Here in the UK, there […]

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  • A bad day on the pitch

    Posted by on March 14, 2011

    Following on from Andrew Delahunty’s great blog post last week, I notice that there is also a crossover of sporting terms into the more ordinary world of work. To take just one example, the national sport of football – there are many phrases commonly used there that we tend to use in the office. Here are some example […]

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  • Sport shorts

    Posted by on March 08, 2011

    Just been reading this great article about how journalists, especially sporting journalists tend to use the phrase ahead of, where the word before would suit better. This month, What’s your English? concentrates on sporting English, and sporting people have many fascinating and entertaining ways to describe and discuss their great passion. There is a definite culture […]

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  • Words on your mind – acquaintance

    Posted by on March 01, 2011

    This week, many of you have been searching the Macmillan Dictionary for the word acquaintance. I’m not sure how successful you will have been initially, because this word was often typed in without the first ‘c’. I can see how easy it is to make this mistake. In English, the letters ‘qu’ make the phonetic sound […]

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  • Winning wordplay

    Posted by on February 15, 2011

    Many people around the world have enjoyed watching the triumphant scenes in Tahrir Square these last few days, as the Egyptian people celebrated the removal of their unpopular leader, Hosni Mubarak. Check out this great article from Ben Zimmer, all about how the Egyptians used wordplay on their protest signs to help get the message […]

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  • Pick a fight!

    Posted by on February 10, 2011

    OK, not literally. I would hate to think that my little blog was responsible for an increase in petty violence around the world! I am referring to the entertaining and useful site Google Fight. The site was originally created as a fun way to find out which names, phrases or things are most popular on […]

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  • Words on your mind…hitherto

    Posted by on February 08, 2011

    It would seem that many of you are involved in some sort of legal wrangle at present. The word hitherto has recently been searched for rather a lot in Macmillan Dictionary and this is a classic legal term – hence my suspicion! I like this word and think that rather than it being unusual and nebulous, it is well-suited to […]

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  • Restful, resting, restive

    Posted by on February 03, 2011

    Ah…rest, we could all do with a bit more of it and yet it can be such a rare commodity in our busy modern lives. The title of this article lists three words starting with rest…but beware! – one of these words has a quite different meaning. Restful, a lovely word describing something that helps you to chill out. When you reach […]

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  • Wary and weary

    Posted by on February 01, 2011

    Two words that seem to get commonly mixed up are wary and weary. These two words have very different meanings and so are not interchangeable, but it doesn’t stop people from doing it. Most often, people use weary when they mean wary. Here are some annoying sentences that have insulted my ears recently: I’m quite weary […]

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  • Thermosemantic

    Posted by on January 27, 2011

    Check out my new word, ‘thermosemantic’. I’ve just created it to explain the sudden rash of meaningless catchphrases and soundbites coming from our British politicians at the moment. I can see what they’re trying to achieve – they want to classify the British electorate into nice little sections that can be fed the political messages the politicians think […]

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