mind your language

'Manoeuvre' Is Simply A Difficult Word To Spell

Not many words in English use the vowel sequence ‘oeu’, which goes a long way to explaining why the word manoeuvre is tricky to get right. This is definitely case where a spell checker is your friend.

You Aren't Fazed, And You Certainly Aren't Phased

To faze is “to disturb; discomfit; daunt”, according to the Macquarie Dictionary. It’s often used in expressions such as “I’m not fazed” to express a “no worries” attitude. That’s fine, but don’t write it as “I’m not phased”. That conveys a “no brains” attitude.

You're An April Fool If You Use The Apostrophe Incorrectly

Did you think Mind Your Language would let April Fools’ Day arrive without reminding you about how to punctuate it? More fool you.

Your Role Is To Use 'Enrol' Correctly

So here’s the thing: enroll is not a word that exists in Australian English. The correct form is enrol. The Americans might do it differently, but down under, that’s how we roll.

Keep Your Eye On The Ophthalmologist

You shouldn’t have to visit an ophthalmologist too often. So perhaps we can excuse you when you spell the word incorrectly.

Lo And Behold, Martha Stewart Got It Wrong

Lo and behold. The Macquarie Dictionary defines this “an exclamation used to indicate that the circumstance about to be revealed or described is surprising”. But if you make a spelling error and use low instead of lo, you lose the impact.

Accidentally Omitting A Syllable Is No Excuse

If you do something by mistake, it has happened accidentally. Not accidently. In Australia, we can partly blame the regular appearance of this error on 1990s pop combo Frente!

Why Punctuation Matters In Code (And In Life)

One of our main arguments at Mind Your Language is that the correct use of language, including punctuation, is essential because it ensures you look professional and convey your meaning accurately. The revelation of a major security hole in Apple’s iOS and Mac OS X software caused by a tiny coding error reminds us that accuracy with punctuation matters even more to developers, as the University of Western Australia’s David Glance explains.

I Will Cite You (And Smite You) At The Sight Of The Wrong Site

Homophones. Who needs them? The English language, it seems. Today we’re discussing three identical-sounding words which shouldn’t be confused, but sometimes are: sight, site and cite.

This Valentine's Day, Remember To Love The Apostrophe

Friday is 14 February, Valentine’s Day, when we celebrate romance with our special someone (or cry alone at home while sculling a bottle of cheap plonk). Don’t ruin the celebrations by forgetting to include an apostrophe in Valentine’s Day.