1 2 3 Displaying 1-7 of 16 Articles

Any word in a living language can develop different meanings in different contexts. These uses of the word can have distinct tones and qualities, with the result that one goes largely unnoticed while its twin draws regular complaints. For example, my bank recently sent me a form to fill in, which included the following instruction: Please advise your Country of Birth.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.
The Horologicon ("book of hours") is a reference book. Its author, Mark Forsyth (who writes the Inky Fool blog), says so. But it is a very unusual reference book — the kind you could read from cover to cover in an evening or two, and would, willingly and happily.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Dog Eared.
For years I've been reading the phrase at/in one fell swoop, and even using it occasionally, without ever examining it closely. I knew what it meant ("all at once"), and that it came from Shakespeare, but only recently did I stop and wonder: What's that fell doing there?  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.
Grammar is not an easy word to pin down: it has several meanings covering many referents and phenomena. You could think of it mainly as the system or structure of a language, particularly its syntax and morphology, and sometimes also its phonology and semantics; and it is the areas of linguistics that study these.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.
The word hybrid (from Latin hybrida, "mongrel") commonly refers to animals and plants of mixed lineage, and more recently to vehicles with two or more power sources. In linguistic morphology, it refers to a word formed by combining elements that originated in two or more languages. The process is called hybridization.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Behind the Dictionary.
A journalist friend on Twitter, Oliver, asked my opinion of ongoing. He said he had been asked to ban it in a style guide, and that he didn't see why. I said I had nothing against it, and that banning it struck me as excessive and unhelpful. Although I sometimes find constructions like ongoing situation and ongoing issue vague or euphemistic, I see no point in prohibiting them outright.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.

"I don't care how thick he gets, I'm not inviting him!"

I overheard this in Galway recently, and it prompted me to write a few notes on the word thick as it is used in Ireland.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.

1 2 3 Displaying 1-7 of 16 Articles