I happen to think the five-day-a-week online newsletter A Word A Day is pretty interesting. I recommend you subscribe. At the beginning of every week, Anu Garg (and his team) post a little essay describing the theme for the week’s words. Here’s what he posted recently:
To dehumidify is the opposite of humidify, but to devote is not the opposite of vote. To take is the antonym of to give, but caretaker and caregiver are synonyms. We add -er and -est to a word to make its comparative and superlative, but temper and tempest are not the comparative and superlative of temp.
English language learners around the world: you have my sympathy. I believe the language was designed as a secret handshake. Wouldn’t want everyone to learn the code so easily!
This week I have picked five random words from the code book of this language. Five* down, 999,995 more to go. Don’t let this discourage you. Google is working on the Enigma machine to break the code.
*Or 5000, if you have been with us since the beginning in 1994
Go to http://wordsmith.org/awad/subscribe.html to subscribe. You’ll be glad you did.
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I don’t know how many of the kid’s words will stick around, but this strip, The Buckets, by Greg Cravens, is a good example of how language changes. In this case, the language change is because of changes to the culture. (Some changes come from the introduction of new words from other languages, such as […]
Just because I think it’s funny. Thanks, Scott. Remember (I hope) “whom” is for whenever you need it as the object of a preposition or the subject of an infinitive. Even if it’s the first word in a Question! Harrumpf.
Good old New Yorker. They pretty much always get their language right, and they’re famous for it. Here’s a usage that I think is fading away, even though I like it. It appeals to the detail-lover in me. It’s the punctuation mark called, in English, the dieresis. Often when two vowels occur together, we either […]
Remember, this is a writing and grammar site, not a political one, but I see this word misused so often, I want to point out when someone (Ed Gamble) uses it correctly. The word is nauseated. “Nausea” is the feeling of wanting to throw up. “Nauseated” means “to feel like throwing up.” “Nauseous” means “causing […]