Words With Different Meanings (US vs UK): Cider Edition

A bit of a follow up from a previous post here. As a west country lad, it is pretty much expected of me to like cider. I freely admit to this being a recent addition to my alcohol tastes. I have friends in Bristol, lived in Devon for five years and my girlfriend lives in […]

Words With Different Meanings (US vs UK)

(Depending on where you live in the world and which version of English you speak). I went to an Asian pre-wedding party on Saturday night. The person getting married is the best friend of my brother. But hold it there for a moment. When I used the word “Asian” what did you assume I meant? […]

Favourite and Least Favourite Words of a Linguistics Nerd

The pen is mightier than the sword -Edward Bulwer-Lytton. (And just as deadly in the wrong hands as Jack Nicholson’s Joker proves in Batman: The Movie). Words can do many things. They can hurt an individual or they change humanity for the better or worse. They can be used to spread the truth and to […]

Syntactic Ambiguity – English Language at its Funniest

No wait, don’t run away, please don’t be put off by the term “syntactic ambiguity” – yes I know it sounds dry and a bit like what you learnt in school and never want to learn again, it’s fun. In fact it’s one of the most amusing facets of the English language. Don’t believe me? […]

Websites for writers: Powerthesaurus

What happens when you know what you want to say but the right word doesn’t come to mind? You need a thesaurus. There are many out there, a lot of glittery and some don’t stand up to quality checks. Basically – they have style but little substance. A couple of weeks ago I was sent […]

British vs American Terms Ready Reckoner

Some of the complaints I’ve heard around the internet about Fifty Shades of Grey aside from its juvenile writing style, poor word use and repetition of phrases is how un-American it feels. This is a complaint made by American readers in that they are finding it difficult to believe that this is set in their […]

The Power of Words #2: The Public Apology

“I’m sorry but this constant demand for public apologies really offends me” so says comedian David Mitchell. I think he’s right. The demand for and dishing out of public apologies for everything everywhere for misdemeanours committed by whomever from the dawn of recorded history to the present day has become a fetish in public life […]