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Did you really just say that?

English can be a minefield for learners, not just in terms of vocab and grammar, but in more subtle ways, like accidentally offending someone by using a word that on the face of it might seem appropriate, but is actually not. The Macmillan English Dictionary (MED) – online, CD and print – features usage notes on avoiding giving offence, in areas such as disability, gender, and race. These can be a huge help to learners not sure whether the word they are going for is actually acceptable. So keep MED close at hand, to avoid putting your foot in it.

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Sharon Creese

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