mind your language

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.


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.