Tag Archives: word nerd

Word Nerd: Do you speak Latin? Yes, you do!

27 May

If I were to say to you, “She recruits students for the university on a pro bono basis,” would you realise that I’d spoken almost as much Latin as English? Although Latin’s use is itself limited, for instance to the Catholic Church, and certain military organisations, like the US Marine Corps, its influence on English […]

Are you a serious word nerd? Here are 7 signs that give it away

13 May

BrainGain Magazine started this Word Nerd series in March 2016. Since then we’ve written about Americanisms, the secrets to writing a good sentence, to best way to insult someone, accents, and other oddities of this common language we speak. For this edition, we thought about the series itself, and its name. We thought too about […]

Word Nerd: 10 German loanwords that English is never giving back

11 Mar

When stepping out of your comfort zone to study abroad, learning a new language is often one of the major reasons. At least it was for me when I traveled westward from Germany as a foreign exchange student to spend a year at an American high-school. For me, learning a language in a classroom, online, […]

Word Nerd: 5 quick and easy tips for writing great emails

15 Oct

There are no rules to winning at life, but here are 5 rules to winning at emails. Do you groan at the thought of reading a long, boring email? If your answer is yes, you’re just like us. No one likes to go through a sloppy email without a beginning, a middle, or an end. […]

7 posh French phrases that are now popular in English

8 Oct

Author: Pratibha Alagh What if we told you English belongs to same language family as Dutch – Germanic, but that it has more features in common with French, an offspring of the Romance languages? Strange, right? But, when it comes to languages, it’s not all about the roots. What is at play is another very […]

Word Nerd: 6 magical English words from Greco-Roman mythology

17 Jan

Since ancient times, mythology has helped form a bridge between abstraction and personification, between imagination and belief, and mind and speech. Myth is a feature of every culture. In fundamental ways, it helps explain the world to us. The means of that explanation is language. Naturally, myths are embedded in our vocabulary. Often, we use […]

Word Nerd: 5 words banished from the Queen’s English in 2018

8 Jan

Every year since 1976, the Lake Superior State University publishes an annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use, and General Uselessness. Although the first list was inspired by the pet peeves of LSSU’s late public relations W.T. Rabe and his friends, the list is now culled from thousands of international […]

Word Nerd: Top 10 words and phrases of 2017

18 Dec

It’s been quite a year for words, hasn’t it? Here are our top 10 words and phrases of the year. Let us know what’s missing from the list! 10. Fidget spinner This was the year when this toy became a global industry. Contrary to some manufacturers’ claims, there is no scientific evidence that fidget spinners […]

Word Nerd: German, the original hashtag language

4 Dec

You know how hashtags work. A hashtag is a hash sign followed by a word. Sometimes a phrase is compounded into a single word. People can intuitively understand its meaning from either the word itself or the context. Sometimes, though, it’s possible to take it #TooFar #BeyondAllReason #DoesItEvenMakeAnySenseAnyMore #ICantEven. Well, if you thought this was […]

Word Nerd: 5 colorful expressions that are not really about color

13 Nov

Color can mean a lot of things besides the wavelengths that reach your retina. It can refer to embellished rhetoric, or imparting a certain tone to a story. In music, it can refer to timbre, which is what enables us to distinguish a note played on a violin from the exact same note played on […]