Ladies’ Day

Glamour! Sophistication! Punctuation! Isn’t this what you think of when you hear the phrase Ladies’ Day?

Ladies’ Day is a common aspect of horse-racing festivals, and today is Ladies’ Day at the Galway Horse-Racing Festival. As seems to be the tradition, it’s a warm day of greasy rain and even greasier teenage boys in oversized suits drinking during the day.

I’m not a fan, suffice it to say, but each to their own. Anyway, one of the most interesting things about Ladies’ Day is Ladies’ Day: that is, the phrase itself, and how almost everyone has to stop and think for a second about how to spell it.

That’s all down to the apostrophe of course. Is it Ladys, or Lady’s, or Ladies, or Ladies’? Well obviously it’s Ladies’, because that’s what I’ve been using from the start, but why is it Ladies’?  Continue reading

Denizen or Citizen?

I was always fascinated by the word denizen as a child. It’s a word I, unsurprisingly, only ever encountered in writing, particularly in books leaning towards fantasy or science fiction. It was fascinating mainly because I assumed it had to have a very different meaning from citizen. Why else would the writer use the word, when they had the choice to use citizen? Continue reading

Sweet Like Candy

MILK!!

Did you hear me!? I said MILK!!

I had to laugh when I saw this today. I get the idea of course. Milk seems pretty healthy, so why not emphasise that ingredient? If it were the main ingredient, the manufacturers wouldn’t need to do anything, as it’d be listed first (did you know that ingredients are always listed in descending order of how of them much are featured in the product?) Continue reading

Sir, You’re Making a Scene…

I’m currently reading The Terror, an intriguing and aptly-titled novel based loosely on the real-life mid-19th century lost Franklin expedition, which set out to find the fabled Northwest Passage. Franklin refers to Sir John Franklin, the expedition’s leader. Throughout the book, he’s referred to as Sir John Franklin, and after a few times I thought that was interesting because he also of course had a naval rank, which could be used alongside Sir. But would it come before or after Sir? Continue reading

It’s Quite Quiet

I was sitting here watching the rain, and thinking about those two words, quite and quiet. Obviously they’re… rather confusing for a lot of people, given how similar they look and sound. I wondered if there might be some link between the two. Surely not, I thought. Their meanings are so different: surely this is just one of those cases of words evolving to be similar independently. Surely… Continue reading

Uninterested or Disinterested?

What? I already told you, remember!?

I’m usually pretty understanding when it comes to commonly-confused words, but this one annoys me, simply because of how I often I see people get it wrong (almost always using disinterested when they mean uninterested).

OK, so explaining the difference between the two words is pretty straightforward, but why does one begin with dis-, and one with un-? Continue reading