mind your language

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.


Potato Scallop, Cake Or Fritter? Actually, It Depends

Twitter has flared up recently over the oft-argued question of whether a flat circular disc of battered and deep-fried potato should be called a potato scallop, potato cake or potato fritter in Australia. The correct answer? It depends on where you live.


Your Bank Balance Is Dependent On Your Dependants

English words that sound identical and differ only by their use of an “a” or an “e” can often cause confusion. And so it proves yet again with dependent and dependant.


I'm Confident Your Confidant Isn't My Confidante

In The Sound Of Music, Maria has confidence in sunshine. I have rather less confidence that everyone is clear on the difference between confident, confidant and confidante.