December 2010

Of all the presents I got for Christmas, one of my faves was a book called How to Sound Clever: Master the 600 English words you pretend to understand when you don’t by Hubert van deb Bergh and it's a dazzling collection of sumptuous words such as denouement, anthropomorphise and obfuscate.I recently chatted to a chap at a mulled wine...

There are some words which get even the most competent writers in a twist. I always struggle to spell the town Grimsby (luckily it’s not a word I have to type often). And I have to really think about the homonyms bear and bare. Is it ‘bare that in mind’ or ‘bear that in mind’?So this post is for me...

Where do you go when you want answers? The newspapers? The Encyclopaedia Britannica? Your mum? Nah. Our first port of call is the Internet. In fact, my little nephew could say “Google it” before he could say “Dog”.Ask Jeeves has compiled a list of the top ten questions asked by Brits in 2010. Do we want to know the meaning of...

Historically, these great British Isles, where I live, have a habit of being invaded. (Although, thankfully, not for some time.)The upside to this, of course, along with nice straight roads built by the Romans, is that the English language is a rich and colourful blend of Latin words, Anglo Saxon words and French words.But that’s not all. The Brits, of...

So you’re having a house built. It’s a superb design. A grand design in fact. And yes. It is the same house from yesterday.But this time the walls have gone up, the windows have gone in and the roof has gone on. And it’s looking mighty fine. But wait. What’s this? There’s no foundation? No problem, you say. We’ll put...

So you’re having a house built. It’s a superb design. A grand design in fact. The builders are dedicated and conscientious and they’re on site on time every day. The materials are superb, the craftsmanship is second-to-none and the whole build is going well.There are some great features including a spa bath, massive walk-in wardrobes, and a huge kitchen that’s...

I was at a networking meeting the other day when someone declared that blog posts should always be infotaining. i.e. informative and entertaining. Well, quite.It got me thinking about portmanteaus: those words that are a blend of two other words. Or to be more precise they’re the beginning of one word joined to the end of another.Some are rotten. Like...

In honour of English Language Day last week I tweeted an old blog post about Anglo Saxon words. On Twitter @CiaranNorris replied “because Anglo Saxon words are ****ing great.” (Ciaran’s asterisks.)Indeed.It’s not cool to swear though, right? Or is it? Once frowned upon as showing lack of intelligence it now seems perfectly acceptable to cuss.Stephen Fry, the cunning linguist says...

A few weeks ago, I managed to squeeze in a quick lunch with the very busy Julie Hall of Springmedia and Women Unlimited. (Yes, she really does run two companies. And a family. She’s, like, Superwoman!) Over a jacket potato we discussed positive discrimination (we disagreed), the UK versus the North American work ethic, and the tools she uses to help...

You may recall, a couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about how I was going to call everyone I was following on Twitter. Yes, I know. Crazy. And yet, I have to say, so far it’s been absolutely brilliant. I’ve swapped ideas, learnt new things, planned a few joint projects and really got to know the people behind...