mind your language

Them's The Breaks: Logic Won't Always Help You Remember

One useful technique to remember a tricky spelling is to try and understand the underlying logic of the phrase. However, if your logic is faulty, your spelling may well be faulty too.


It's Harder To Scam People When You Call Them 'Costumers'

One of the most obvious signs of a scam email is spelling errors. If you want to persuade me to click on your dubious link, starting out with the phrase “Dear Costumer” is not going to do the job.


No, Profligacy Does Not Have Two Cs

There are occasions when you are sure you know how to spell a word, then you encounter a different spelling in print and you can’t decide whether the writer is in error or whether you have been getting it wrong all along. That is when it is time to reach for the dictionary.


What 'Nobody Has Lost Their Job' Actually Means

In Question Time at Parliament today, Government senate leader Senator Eric Abetz was asked if the government would apologise for imposing cuts on the ABC that will result in 400 people losing their jobs, thereby breaking an entirely unambiguous pre-election promise that no cuts will be made. His response? “Nobody has lost their job.” Huh?


Should I Use 'Towards' Or 'Toward'?

Peter from Business Insider popped his head over the partition the other day and asked if towards or toward was correct in a headline. I instinctively answered “towards”, but then realised I couldn’t offer a full explanation for my reasoning. Time to head to the dictionary.


This Singular Qantas Error Is Entirely Avoidable

So three weeks ago I picked on Qantas for a spelling mistake on one of its wine bottles. Then last week I pointed out that the airline wasn’t handling apostrophes well. And now I feel compelled to point out an error on the signs explaining how to use Macs in Qantas Club lounges.


Some Companies Can't Spell Correctly Even With The Right Spelling In Front Of Them

I apologise: I know it was only a fortnight ago that I was complaining about how its and it’s are constantly being misused. But this example is particularly offensive.


Should You Correct Your Spelling And Grammar Mistakes As You Go?

Accuracy matters, as we never tire of pointing out here at Mind Your Language. But what if you’re undertaking the NaNoWriMo challenge, where you have to produce a 50,000 word novel in a month? Does it make sense to worry about spelling when you’re trying to churn out 1700 words a day, or should you press on regardless?


It's Still Not OK To Get 'Its' Wrong

Mind Your Language deals with a wide range of linguistic screw-ups, but there is only one candidate for the most common mistake in current written English. Step forward, it’s being used when its is needed.


So It's Cut And Dried That Cut And Dry Is Wrong

Cut and dried is a useful expression for conveying that something is fixed and (for most purposes) unarguable. If you get it wrong and write cut and dry, an argument will undoubtedly happen.