Tag Archives: english

Words: mixed up meanings

English has got to be one of the toughest languages to learn. Even our exceptions to the rules have exceptions. Here are some of my recent mental meanderings on mixed up meanings. Confusing homophones 1.                  This bimonthly publication comes out … Continue reading

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Which word in the English language has the most definitions?

The word SET has the most definitions of any word in the English language. SET has 464 definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary. Here’s how the others stack up: RUN – 396 (defs.)            GO – 368           TAKE … Continue reading

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English language genercide: the power of popular usage.

In one of my first posts titled Evolving Language, we saw that with over 600,000 words, English contains more words than any language in human history. That posts explored how the English language acquires new words. This post adds another … Continue reading

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English is nutty 5

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.                                                                         A will is a dead giveaway. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. A backward poet writes inverse. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, … Continue reading

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English is Nutty 4

Most of us use Nutty English expression to mean something entirely different than what we are actually saying.  What is said-What is meant–Why it’s nutty I could care less – I couldn’t care less – think about it.    I miss not seeing … Continue reading

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English is nutty.

What’s so hard about learning English?  Nothing compared to teaching English as a Second Language to really smart students who love to ask “Why?”   Day 1 lesson plan — Explain why: quicksand is slow A guinea pig is not … Continue reading

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Can you speak English?

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Write good 2

One should never generalize. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” Comparisons are as bad as cliches. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous. It behooves … Continue reading

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Odd Words: CATOPTROMANCY

CATOPTROMANCY Divination by means of mirrors. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?” At some time or other, almost anything you can think of has been used to foretell the future, from straws on a … Continue reading

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Odd Words #2

BAFFLEGAB Incomprehensible or pretentious verbiage. This word hit the newspapers and public notice on 19 January 1952, the day after a plaque was presented to its inventor to mark his creation of this invaluable word. He was Milton A Smith, … Continue reading

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Odd words

Abacot: This word is said not to exist. Generations of reference books once included this term, including the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannia, dated 1771: “the name of an ancient cap of state worn by the kings of England, … Continue reading

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Spanish makes a great second language

Learning another language can be a fun and satisfying experience. Moreover, the joy of communicating with folks in their own language can be contagious. Just observe your kids or your neighbor’s kids. With the steady influx of immigrants and international … Continue reading

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