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Posts in Grammar and usage

Why Brexit takes the biscuit

I sit here with my cup of tea and chocolate wafer snack, pondering the fact that in less than two months’ time, Britons are off to the polls to make a big decision regarding our future in (or out of) the European Union, and yet no-one seems to be asking what is surely the biggest

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Phrench phury at spelling rephorms

How many hours of my life have I spent – first as a language student and then as a professional linguist – tediously flipping through dictionaries and grammar books looking up arcane accents and idiosyncratic spellings in French? It’s a rhetorical question, obviously. However, if I were able to put a precise figure on my

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Non-binary pronouns

How would you feel if someone asked you to refer to them not as “he” or “she”, but instead as “ze” or “ey”? Or if they asked you not to speak about them using any third-person pronouns at all, but just their name? As this recent article contends, it’s probably something we’ll all be asked

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The disappointment of fictional words

Is there a word for the embarrassed disappointment you feel when, to prove a fascinating fact you’ve proudly announced at a social gathering, you google it on the Internet only to find out it’s an urban legend? If so, I could certainly have used that word over Christmas. You see, I’ve been quoting the word

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Crash blossom: police shoot man with knife

I spotted the following link, and its related headline, recently on the Grauniad’s website… and for once, it wasn’t the spelling that made me laugh. Prompting the obvious question… how exactly do you shoot someone with a knife? As a headline, it’s right up there with “Passengers hit by cancelled trains”, “Post Office supervisor charged

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