What is the difference between a real word and a made-up word? OK, admittedly all words are made-up. We should probably ask what it takes to transform a newly manufactured word into […]
We love words. We especially love strange words. Fortunately, the English language has a limitless supply of them to tantalize even the most discriminating lexophile.
Unquestionably, the English language is insane. It is so insane that there is even a poem dedicated to its insanity. We have devoted numerous articles on this site to English and its […]
Suppose a friend asks you for directions to the nearest coffee shop. Your friend knows how to get to the grocery store on the corner of Main Street and Oak Avenue. You […]
Want to hear about this great new dessert we’ve invented? It’s a chocolate snack cake covered in chocolate and filled with whipped cream. We call it a Dong Ding. The mascots for […]
If you are accustomed to the metric system, imperial units can be perplexing. There is logic in the fact that there are 1,000 meters in a kilometer or ten centimeters in a […]
In the vast majority of the world’s languages, the word for mother begins with the letter M. Here are a few examples: Afrikaans: Moeder, Ma Albanian: Mëmë Aragones: Mai Asturian: Ma Belarusan: Matka Bergamasco: […]
They are on the precipice of extinction. Without decisive action, all fifty of them will be gone, only to appear as footnotes in the textbooks of the future. Saving them is going […]
Certain rules of grammar are easy to articulate and uphold. Taking on “commandment” status, some elements of the English language get drilled into our heads at an early age: don’t split infinitives, […]
“I” before “e,” except after “c,”Or when sounded as “a” as in “neighbor” and “weigh.” This easy-to-remember jingle is one of the first spelling rules we learned as children. It has been […]
There’s nothing we like better than to be able to write about a totally non-controversial subject. It is difficult to express our joy when the matter is so clear and accepted that […]
Wy duz English hav such weerd spelling? Sum words uze silent letters. Others use dubel letters inconsistently for ekwal sounds, such as “blizzard” and “lizard.” Wat if we cud mak it eezy? […]
Baptism is a sacrament of the Christian faith that is associated with the public declaration that an individual has renounced his or her old ways and has entered into a new life […]
Frequent readers of Commonplace Fun Facts know that we like languages. They also know that we probably need to spend more time learning the nuances of English before we delve into others. […]
Crepuscular. The word fairly trips off the tongue, making even the most uneducated person sound sophisticated — assuming it is used correctly, that is.