language

Road Sign Mistake Reminds Us Why Accuracy Matters

We spend most of our time at Mind Your Language pointing out common spelling and grammar mistakes. Sometimes it’s worth reminding people of the consequences of a lax attitude to careful writing. This is one of those times.


Eliminate 'If' And 'But' For More Sincere Apologies

The only thing worse than a missed apology is a fake one. But even when you don’t mean to, your friends may think a fake apology is exactly what you’re giving them.


Learn The Secrets Of Pronoun Usage To Avoid A Bad Boss

The next time your potential supervisor interviews you, listen to the pronouns they use to decode their management style — and avoid a potentially bad boss.


When You're En Route To Somewhere, Forget The On

The French expression en route (meaning “on your way to”) is so widely used in English that it’s acceptable to not place it in italics every time you use it. What isn’t acceptable is replacing the en with on.


Immerse Your Senses In 10 Hours Of Chimp Chatter For Free

Are you looking for some eclectic tracks to add to your music playlist? Or maybe some audio for your homemade Planet Of The Apes remake? Perhaps you’ve just got a penchant for primate jibber-jabber and don’t care who knows it? If the answer to any of the above is “yes”, this is the dealhacker you’ve been waiting for. Scientists have just launched a freely available online audio library cataloguing more than 10 hours of chimpanzee vocalisations. Download it and get weird.


How Spelling Mistakes Will Ruin Your Amusing GIFs

There’s an animated GIF doing the rounds which sums up the plot of every episode of TV medical drama House. It’s pointed and cruel and funny — but the effect was ruined for me by a spelling mistake in one of the captions.


What's The Difference Between A Reticle And A Reticule?

I’ll admit it: before I began researching this topic, I had never used the word reticle in a sentence. So how did it end up as a target for Mind Your Language?


Give Us A Break And Put The Brakes On

I thought put the brakes on was an obvious automotive idiom and that everyone would be able to spell it correctly. Then I opened my eyes and realised that some people are writing put the breaks on instead. Oh dear.


Were You Going To Use Where Correctly?

Mixing were and where can lead you down some interesting temporal and positional paths, but unless you’re a Time Lord, you should learn how to use them correctly. We’re going to find out how.


These Uncharted Waters Have Not Been Chartered

Uncharted waters is a common phrase used to describe unfamiliar territory. Don’t make the mistake of writing unchartered waters instead.