Tagged With mind your language

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An Australian judge has dismissed charges of offensive language against three marriage equality protesters who were caught on camera chanting swear words. Apparently, yelling expletives into a loudspeaker on public property no longer constitutes offensive language. Good to know.

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Have you ever wondered why Americans and British/Aussies spell English differently? How are colour and colour the same word? Centre and center? What's up with that? It's all thanks to Noah Webster (yeah, the Webster of Merriam-Webster). When America gained independence, Webster wanted to simplify unreasonable spellings that were handed down from the British.

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At yesterday's US presidential debate, Donald Trump said this: "I have a tremendous income. And the reason I say that is not in a braggadocious way". It left a lot of people scratching their heads as to whether he made the word up. We did some research to find the answer.

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The acronym "LGBT" was once considered sufficiently representational of non-heterosexual sexuality and gender types. Well, it looks like we're going to need a few more letters. A new Australian sex survey conducted by researchers at The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has listed a whopping 33 options under the question "Which of the following terms do you feel best describes your gender?". Here's the full list, along with definitions of what they represent.

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We all make grammar mistakes from time to time. Usually it's because you're in a rush, writing informally or simply not devoting your full attention to the task at hand. While the odd grammatical snafu is forgivable, there are some errors you definitely need to avoid. This infographic looks at 15 bone-headed stuff-ups that will cause anyone reading to seriously question your intelligence.

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Our English teachers told us to avoid the word "very" because it's weak and vague. They were right, and many times, we use "very" as a modifier for a word that could easily be replaced with a stronger, more accurate word. This infographic tells you what to use instead.

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"The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language." So goes the old chestnut commonly attributed to playwright George Bernard Shaw. One of those separations is in the spelling of words like colour (color), theatre (theater), and realise (realize). But how did this separation occur?

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The phrases "Curriculum Vitae" (CV for short) and "resume" are often used interchangeably by job listings and prospective employees alike. Is there actually any difference, or is it just a case of choosing your favourite synonym? While undoubtedly similar, resumes and CVs aren't quite the same thing. Here's a quick explainer.

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Quenya, Sindarin, Klingon and Dothraki – there's an art to making up languages. If you're working on your own epic fantasy series or are just interested in linguistic, here are some tips to creating your own Tolkien-style language.

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As a linguistic phrase, OK is something of a phenomenon, travelling from American English into hundreds of other languages. And there are tons of myths about how OK emerged to mean that things are hunky-dory. But which story is correct? The truth is a little bit goofy.

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In Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, the character of George is haunted by a decades-old memory of accidentally ordering a "Bergin and water" in a crowded pub. While most of us know the difference between bourbon and gin, it's possible you've made a similar faux pas to the sniggers of nearby barflies. Here are 20 popular alcoholic beverages that you might be mispronouncing.

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The phrase "cognitive computing" is often bandied about when discussing artificial intelligence, data mining and deep machine learning. But what does it actually mean? During Nvidia's GTC technology conference, IBM Watson's chief technology officer Rob High gave a perfect distillation of this complex topic.

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Referring to a single person who may be of any gender in English can be tricky. It can be awkward to use words like "one" or phrases like "he or she," and many a grammarian hates using "they" as to refer to a single person. How has English gotten this far without such a convenient pronoun? Actually, it hasn't.

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Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column has repeatedly stressed that accuracy matters. According to a new survey conducted by online dating site Zoosk, it can also have a negative impact on your love life, especially for guys. More than 65 per cent of female respondents considered poor grammar to be a total "deal breaker".

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While the etymology of many words we use today has faded into obscurity, there are some that are more offensive than we can ever imagine. There may be some words you use every day without a thought to their original meanings. Here are ten that it pays to be aware of.