Tagged With mind your language

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The English language was first spoken in early medieval England around 1400 years ago. This gradually gave rise to today's 'Modern English' which became the dominant form by the 1550s. Today I discovered some of the earliest English words that are still in common usage today.

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Do you know the difference between a hyphen and a dash? An em-dash and an en-dash? Do you know the different situations where they should all be used? Or are you just using whatever dash-shaped symbol you can find on your keyboard or in Word's auto-formatting? If you want to score some serious grammar points, come in and read up on all the different dashes you should be using.

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In Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, the character of George is haunted by a decades-old memory of accidentally ordering a "Bergin and water" in a crowded pub. While most of us know the difference between bourbon and gin, it's possible you've made a similar faux pas to the sniggers of nearby barflies without even realising it. Here are 20 popular alcoholic beverages that you might be mispronouncing.

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English is a weird language. None of our grammatical rules ever seem to be evenly applied without exceptions, and irregular verbs are no different. For most verbs in the English language, changing to past tense is as simple as adding 'ed' on the end. But then there's a whole host of words that don't conform to that rule. What gives?

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Some words and phrases sound like they should be interchangeable, or are so similar it's hard to tell the difference between. But in the complicated world of English grammar, even these subtle differences can change the entire meaning of a word. Here are 12 common words you need to be careful about mixing up.

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So I'm at the supermarket, and I glance at the cover of trashy real-life stories magazine That's Life, because I'm always hoping that it will one day feature a headline as spectacular as the classic 'IS YOUR FRUIT SALAD PSYCHIC?'

There's nothing quite that glorious, but there is this: 'Budget Queen: I Feed A Family Of 10 For $120 A Week'. So obviously I had to buy it.

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Dating terminology has gotten a lot broader - and a lot weirder - since the advent of smartphones, social media and online dating. It seems like every other day there's another pithy metaphor, slang word or acronym to jot down or brush up on.

Whether you're trying to keep up in the Gen Y dating scene or just want to decipher your teenage kid's wholly alien vocabulary, this glossary of love lingo is here to help.

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The English language is constantly evolving, with new words and phrases spreading among us like an infection - we hear things, then we say those things. The problem is that we don't always bother to wonder if we should. Because of that, the original meaning of some demeaning and hateful expressions get lost in time. Here are some widely used examples.

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Even if your conversational partner can't hear you laughing or see you smiling, it's important to express your appreciation of a joke or a funny story. The many popular options can be boiled down into two types: The hahaha of simulated laughter, and the lol of metaphorical laughter.

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Every language has its own slang and phrases you should master to sound like a true native speaker. Australian English is no exception.

You may have heard “G’day mate”, “fair dinkum”, and “strewth!” before, but the dialect is much broader than that. Try these next time you speak to an Aussie and you might convince them you’re “true blue”.

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Just how likely does "probably" sound to you? To some people, "probably" means that something is practically locked in. To others, it means the likelihood of something happening is highly dubious. This graph assigns percentage values to a range of common phrases relating to probability. Turns out you should say "almost certainly" instead of "probably" if you want to minimise doubt.

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At approximately 12am tonight, the 2017 Perseid Meteor Shower is set to wow the world. Many eyewitnesses will use the words "meteor", "meteorite", "comet" and "asteroid" interchangeably to describe the celestial event they're seeing.

In reality, these are all completely different types of space rock. If you want to avoid a social faux pas tonight (or want to be the smarty-pants who corrects fellow stargazers), here's what sets each type apart.

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Steven Pinker, the famous linguist who isn't Noam Chomsky, doesn't think using "literally" figuratively is all that bad. "The figurative use doesn't mean the language is deteriorating," he says in a 2014 interview, comparing it to the hyperbolic use of "terrific" or "wonderful".

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I once heard a comedian say, "Never ask a woman if she's pregnant unless you actually see a baby's head coming out of her legs." Sage advice -- too bad no one ever takes it. I can't tell you how many times people asked me if I was pregnant, if I was planning on getting pregnant or what I was waiting for to get pregnant.

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We all know the rule: "I before E, except after C..." except... uh... something. Good news: You can forget everything except the "I before E" part. And even that will only help you guess correctly three times out of four.