Anyone for sphairistike?

With the weather forecast promising the imminent start of that perennial favourite British summer pastime, watching rain fall at Wimbledon, let’s do some tennis etymology, shall we? Tennis The obvious starting point is actually a slightly tricky one: the most likely derivation is that it comes from the Medieval French te’netz, meaning receive, a call… Continue reading Anyone for sphairistike?

Commonly confused words

The English language is a confusing thing, with words that are spelt the same – or very similarly) but have different meanings, words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings, and words that are very similar but have totally different meanings.  Getting the wrong one can alter the meaning of your sentence: this… Continue reading Commonly confused words

The ‘joys’ of English spelling

Isn’t the English spelling system a wonderful thing? It’s so regular and predictable: who could look at words like knight, house, flour, debt or colonel and not know instantly how they are pronounced? My apologies for the sarcasm, but the English language really is a deeply confusing and frustrating thing.  There are languages where spelling… Continue reading The ‘joys’ of English spelling

Declutter your text: beware of repetitions

Originally posted on Ida Auclond:
Repetitions can take different shapes: multiple occurrences of the same word, synonyms, pleonasms, redundancies. When used wisely, repetitions can be an interesting stylistic device. When used unwisely, they can severely harm the elegance of your text. The easiest repetitions to spot are the multiple occurrences of the same word (or…