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English evolution, from rooves to roofs

Originally posted January 2012 Disclaimer: I’m not an etymologist, word historian or linguist; just a curious wordsmith with a pedantic streak and I willingness to trawl the net for a couple of hours when things bug me. This blog post

Posted in Etymology, Words and language Tagged with:

A few letters make all the difference: prefixes and suffixes

English is a funny language. You can take a simple word and add a few letters at the start or finish and completely change the meaning, or if you want, build an idea that defies dictionaries but not the mechanics

Posted in Words and language Tagged with:

You can’t negate a noun

Originally posted October 2011 I will maintain until I die, or someone proves me wrong, that the expression ”I have no bananas” is just grammatical nonsense. I’m not picking bananas in particular, but any phrase that includes ”have no” in

Posted in Random thoughts, Words and language Tagged with:

Sorry, I’ve been wrong about collective nouns

Originally posted September 2011 Would seem that I owe sports journalists worldwide an apology: you aren’t singlehandedly destroying English after all. For more than 20 years I’ve been haranguing sports writers for making it acceptable to use plural verbs with

Posted in UK vs US, Words and language Tagged with: ,

Perpetuating grammar myths

Originally published April 2012 It seems that over and more than, and around and about, are pretty much interchangeable. That’s the problem with English, I keep discovering that the hard and fast rules I grew up with are more often

Posted in Things to avoid, Words and language Tagged with:

Don’t give a slash too much space

It makes sense, well to me, that I return to this blog with a whinge – after all that’s what I’m known for. Why, oh why, do people persist in using a space before and after a forward slash. Is

Posted in Punctuation Tagged with: , ,

You is, you are – why not?

English is a growing language. Right? So let’s use that as an excuse to “fix” one of its most irritating failings – you are. Never fear, I’m not going to suggest that “yous” be legitimised; I can’t stretch the concept

Posted in Random thoughts, Words and language Tagged with:

5 capitalisation abuses that make me see red

As an editor there is very little that annoys me more than apparently random capitalisation. This is a particular problem in corporate comms when people use capitals to indicate something is important, whether it’s a Program or a Product. Aarrrgghhhh.

Posted in Punctuation, Words and language Tagged with: , , ,

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