mind your language

Don't Decide Off Your Own Bat To Use Back Instead

If you do something off your own bat, you don’t require assistance. If you use the incorrect phrase “off your own back”, you definitely need help.


The Correct Way To Spell 'Lifehacker' And 'Lifehacking'

Several readers wrote in to point out to us that “lifehacking” was given an honourable mention in the Macquarie Dictionary‘s 2014 words of the year list. I’m torn over this. It’s nice that the Macquarie editors noticed — but with that said, they seem a little late to the party.


Who's Your Daddy? Learn The Difference Between Whose And Who's

An apostrophe in English can indicate either possession or missing letters. One example that everyone gets wrong is it’s versus its. A similar example that goes awry almost as often is whose versus who’s.


In Australia, It's Safest To Spell 'Yoghurt' With An 'H'

One of the most crucial factors with yoghurt is consistency — you want it to be rich and creamy. Unfortunately, consistency is not a hallmark of the English language, which is why there’s a lot of confusion over whether yoghurt or yogurt is the accepted spelling.


Your Colleagues Are Not Your 'Work Colleagues'

Knowing what a word means is critical to using it correctly. If you use the expression “work colleagues”, what you’re really saying is that that you don’t know what “colleagues” means.


Silicon And Silicone Are Not The Same Thing

Silicon is element number 14 in the periodic table, and an essential component in the processors that power our computers and phones and lives. Silicone is the stuff which is used in breast implants and earbuds. The two words aren’t interchangeable.


Why Do Words End In -Able Or -Ible?

I saw the sign pictured above over the Christmas break (hi Yarragon!), and realised something: I didn’t know if there was any underlying principle to when a word is spelled with -able or -ible on the end. It was time to find out.


Season's Greetings: Get The Apostrophe Right

As is traditional for Mind Your Language, we end the year with a festive reminder. When you write Season’s Greetings in an email or card, remember to include the apostrophe.


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.