Tag Archives: language

Word Nerd: 6 easy tricks to pronounce Italian words correctly

19 Jun

American physicist Richard Feynman was a genius. Not only did he know a thing or two about science (he won the Nobel Prize in 1965), but as an adult he learned how to speak Japanese, play a Brazilian musical instrument, and how to paint (he even sold some art). One thing he did not know […]

Word Nerd: 11 essential words we have Shakespeare to thank for

12 Jun

Why was Shakespeare one of the best writers in English? He had the best stories, characters and words. How? Stories he improvised, characters he invented, and words he borrowed. Now, before belligerent bardolaters barge in, we’d like to say that yes, the Bard’s genius was just that – genius. And far be it from us […]

Word Nerd: 3 steps to writing a good paragraph

29 May

We’ve talked about how the secret to writing a respectable piece of prose is a good sentence. Today, we take another building block of quality prose – the humble paragraph. As with all great writing, paragraphs are shaped by a writer’s instinct. That said, paying attention to the paragraph, and how it works, can improve […]

Word Nerd: 5 types of people with a big, black cloud over their head

22 May

Mondays – that manmade scourge – are the favorite day of no sane person. People who love Mondays usually fall somewhere between ‘annoyingly enthusiastic’ and ‘mentally disturbed’. The only reasonable response to Mondays is an ill-tempered grunt. So, without further ado, here are a few ways to describe most people on Mondays (unfortunately, some people […]

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 […]

Word Nerd: 9 Awesome Alternatives to Awesome That You Need to Know

17 Apr

Life is awesome, right? So is pizza, The Walking Dead, and your favourite pair of Converse shoes. The word gets tired and loses its glow with overuse. Ask Dean Winchester. So, for this Word Nerd, we came up with 9 lesser-known alternatives to awesome that you can sprinkle liberally on your conversations. We hope that […]

Word Nerd: 8 most commonly mispronounced British place names

10 Apr

The UK has bizarre place names. We’re not just talking about the tiny Welsh town with a name 58 characters long – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, or Pity Me – a village in Durham County. Between these two places – the first of which we doubt you’ll ever wrap your tongue around, and the second you will never […]

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 […]

5 Funny Poets You Need to Read

22 Mar

Poetry, for most of us, is like an embarrassing aunt. The one we want to avoid at social gatherings, the one we nod at absently when she grabs us and talks nineteen to the dozen, the one we are reluctant to be seen with in public, for fear that she will bore or embarrass the […]