Archive for April, 2010

I wrote the other day about scent, as one of my favourite words (serendipity’s another). Scent isn’t a word you’d normally associate with the war in Afghanistan. But it cropped up in a Radio Scotland programme, Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War in Their Own Words, recounting life in the Afghan war zones. The account takes […]


We’ve been nominated as one of the Top 100 Language Blogs 2010 competition organised by LexioPhiles. As you can imagine, we’re well chuffed! Nominations are open until 11 May (23:59 hours German time). Voting will then take place from 12-24 May 2010. If you’d like to nominate Words to good effect (and we hope you […]


The British Council’s 75th anniversary poll of its students’ English language preferences also surveyed their least favoured words. The 10 most disliked English words were: Cancer Racism Corruption Terrorism Slavery Flatulence Killing Study Herringbone Fail Pretty understandable choices, although flatulence seems a far lesser evil compared with others on the list. But you can’t help […]


My last post was about words we don’t like. This one’s about words we do. To celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2009, the British Council conducted a poll to find out its students’ favourite English words. The top ten were: Love God Peace Awesome Hello Freedom Gorgeous Sunshine Health Happiness In another poll, carried out […]


I had a Twitter conversation recently with Ashleigh Grange of Plush Text Communications and Janine Libbey of P & L Translations about words we dislike. Ashleigh’s language bugbear of the day was incentivise, Janine’s prioritise and mine diarise. My current handbag-book for the train and doctors’/dentists’ waiting rooms is “The English Language” by David Crystal. I was surprised to find […]