Youth or youths

Youth is the age range when a human is young, or before the person reaches adulthood. The word youth can also be used to describe a group of young people, regardless of age. It is also a common adjective for things that are created specifically for youth. Something can be in its youth if it is newly created. A youth is also a teenage boy or young man. Only this last definition has a plural form of youths. All other uses of the word are already plural or a mass noun. Sometimes it can be … [Read more...]

Interview with Peter Harvey

Peter Harvey

Please meet Peter Harvey, EFL teacher, author and translator. Please introduce yourself and provide some background information. I am a qualified UK secondary-school teacher specialising in EFL, but I have never taught in the UK. After teaching English in Germany, Zambia and Saudi Arabia I came to live in Barcelona, Spain, in 1984. Now I teach adults on a freelance basis, translate and write books about English. I studied modern languages at Cambridge and I find that having studied … [Read more...]

Long in the tooth

Grammarist

To be long in the tooth is to be old, either in age or simply out of date. This phrase originated with horses, whose teeth continue to grow and be worn down throughout their life, so that by looking at their teeth one can guess at the horses' age. It is commonly used in the financial and technological worlds where items can be dated very quickly. A related phrase is don't look a gift horse in the mouth, which means if someone is giving you a gift, don't complain about it. It began as a … [Read more...]

Privy

To be privy to something is to have knowledge of it. Usually it is used with the connotation that the information is secret or not widely known. One can be privy to something or be made privy. It has one derivative of privily. It is found more commonly outside of the United States. It is also the noun for an outdoor toilet. A privity has to do with legal interest or relationships between people who have a legal interest in something. Examples The NSEL Investors' Action Group has … [Read more...]

Impractical vs impracticable

Impractical is an adjective to describe something or someone as unwise or impossible, without common sense, idealistic. Impracticable is a synonym of impractical in the definition of being unfeasible or impossible to use. Impractical has two derivatives, they are the noun impracticality and the adverb impractically. Impracticable has two derivatives, they are noun impracticability and adverb impracticably. Examples A moratorium on genetically modified crops is impractical, incumbent … [Read more...]

Folderol

Folderol is a noun for idiotic actions, words, or ideas. It can also be spelled falderal. And with the two spellings it can be pronounced two ways, either /ˈfäldəˌräl/ (fall der all) or /ˈfôldəˌrôl/ (fole der ole). It is a mass noun which has no singular form. The o spelling is more commonly found. The term originated as a refrain in songs, literally "fol-de-rol". Folderol previously could be used in terms of a useless or idiotic item, and therefore you could have … [Read more...]

Actualise vs actualize

To actualize something is to accomplish or complete it. It is always used with an object. British English spells it actualise.  The spelling change extends to all forms (e.g., actualises, actualizes, actualised, actualized, actualisation, actualization, actualising, actualizing). A related term is self-actualized (self-actualise) which means to accomplish or complete oneself to your fullest potential. It has all the same forms as actualize and all the same spelling … [Read more...]

Heads up

Heads up is an interjection used when you need to warn someone to look out. A heads-up is the actual warning you gave the individual. This is commonly used in the phrase giving someone a heads-up. While the correct spelling includes the hyphen, actual usage suggests that it will become obsolete some day. Heads-up can also be used as an adjective to describe a person as being cautious or aware of surroundings. Keeping one's head up means to be watchful. Be aware that the verb head can also … [Read more...]

Content or contented

Content has two meanings which are separated by pronunciation. When the stress is placed on the first syllable (con tent), content means materials inside a container or the ideas presented in a speech or written work. These are both nouns. Content with the stress placed on the second syllable (cun tent), means to be happy or satisfied. It can be used as an adverb, adjective, verb, or noun. However, each of these forms has two variations (e.g., contently, contentedly, content, contented, … [Read more...]

Git-go

Git-go is a variation of the word get-go, which means at the start or beginning. It is usually found in the phrase from the get-go. As a compound noun it is always hyphenated. Get-go is used vastly more often than git-go. The word was first used in the United States in the sixties by an African American writer. There is no conclusive evidence for where the term derived from. One guess is the phrase from the word go and another is a shortened version of get going. Git on its own can be a … [Read more...]

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