August 7, 2009
by Graham

Email etiquette

A couple of years ago, when the television film about my brother’s death was making headlines, I had an email from a Sky News journalist, wanting to interview me. It began “Hi Graham”. The woman writing had never heard of … Continue reading

July 31, 2009
by Graham


This blog is hosted by WordPress, whose own development blog today has this: “The WordPress team had initially committed to maintaining the WordPress 2.0.x legacy branch until 2010. Unfortunately, we bit off more than we could chew—the 2.0.x branch is … Continue reading

July 3, 2009
by Graham
1 Comment

More on money

Following on from my previous post on money, it occurred to me that 1½d was almost always pronounced three ha’pence, and less often a penny ha’penny while 1½p was always one and a half pence. The abbreviation for the old … Continue reading

June 29, 2009
by Graham


With this word in the news almost every day at the moment, we are hearing two pronunciations from British broadcasters: /ıˈreınıən/ and /ıˈrɑːnıən/. The first of these is, I think, the majority pronunciation, but the second is heard from many … Continue reading

June 23, 2009
by Graham
1 Comment

By or for?

Interviewed on this morning’s BBC Radio4 ‘Today’ programme about the election of John Bercow as the new Speaker of the House of Commons, the MP Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire) claimed that this was a vindictive act on behalf of … Continue reading

June 18, 2009
by Graham
1 Comment

Weak form loss

John Wells has been talking (here and here) about the loss of weak forms from English. Two more that have disappeared for an understandable reason are the weak forms of penny and pence. Before decimalization of the British currency in … Continue reading

May 26, 2009
by Graham

Gender and Sex

In a comment on my post Gender in French, Pat Franczyk shows the danger of confusing the meanings of these two words. It has often been said that “language has gender, but animals and plants have sex”. The ambiguity of … Continue reading