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With no date, girl who got into 7 Ivy League schools takes Harvard acceptance letter to prom

2 May

American teenager Priscilla Samey got into seven Ivy League schools, but couldn’t find a date for the senior prom. Instead of being disheartened, the 17-year-old took her acceptance letter from Harvard University to the dance. Last Saturday, she tweeted this picture with the message, “Couldn’t find a man to accept me for prom so I […]

Word Nerd: 4 Secrets to Writing a Good Sentence

1 May

A good sentence is key to writing a respectable piece of prose – whether it’s a letter, an essay, or a novel. We can entertain ambitions about writing epic novels, or A-grade essays, but, without a good hold on this building block, our ambitions are likely to remain pipe dreams. In this Word Nerd, we […]

In which comedian Jimmy Fallon is discombobulated by robots

28 Apr

Watch artificial intelligence – the cutting edge of engineering – live up to its creepy image, as comedian and ‘The Tonight Show’ host Jimmy Fallon apprehensively lets a snakebot climb his leg, has a super-awkward conversation with the placid android Sophia, and gets all butterfingered with an expensive butterfly bot. The snakebot, developed at Carnegie […]

50 Popular Books You Can Read This Summer

28 Apr

To mark #WorldBookDay, the School of Oriental and African Studies asked students, academics, alumni, and friends to suggest their top picks in global literature. The response was fantastic. While SOAS received hundreds of nominations on Facebook, Twitter and their blog, they narrowed the list to 50. The list is enough to keep readers going for […]

Word Nerd: ‘Apposite unfoldments’ and other words too fancy to understand

24 Apr

For some reason, some people think that the harder something is to read, the smarter it must be. But a long word or a complex sentence is not necessarily more effective than a short word or a simple sentence. Indeed, the opposite is often true.  We have discussed before why verbosity is a terrible way […]

Remembering a funny French teacher

11 Apr

Recently, someone asked on Quora, “What has been your strangest experience with a teacher. Many stories followed, including a few disturbing ones. Our favorite was this one, contributed by someone named Annie Howard: When I was studying for GCSE French, our teacher had some very odd ideas: He gave people nicknames based on their names […]

‘Leaver’s Assembly’ – a slam farewell for high-school graduation

6 Apr

It’s that bittersweet time of the year when high-school seniors say farewell to their classmates, look forward to their hard-earned summer break, and prepare for an exciting new journey through college. Last year, Naina Lavakare, a student at The British School, Delhi, was asked to write a slam piece for the traditional ‘Leaver’s Assembly’ held […]

Word Nerd: Why it’s important to write concisely

3 Apr

Business news reports sometimes refer to “manufacturing units” when they mean “factories”. One college library had a sign above its photocopier that read “Reprographic Unit”. We often use two or more long words when a short one would be enough. This sort of verbosity – sometimes the result of a shaky vocabulary, and at other […]

Word Nerd: 7 Impossibly Sophisticated and Smart Insults

27 Mar

Recently, we argued that poems can be as funny as they can be serious. In this Word Nerd, we’re making the same case for insults. Add enough wit to insults and they become glorious – masterpieces which are likely to offend and impress in equal measure. And if you’re finding it hard to think of […]

Word Nerd: 5 English phrases that only Indians truly get

27 Feb

English is a language that often seems to divide rather than unite its speakers from various parts of the former British empire. For example, when Americans speak of ‘boots’ and ‘bonnets’, they are referring to things you wear, but in British English, of course, the words refer to the front and back of a car, […]