Today is 11 November, Armistice Day, on which we commemorate the end of the First World War. Or, World War I. That’s how we refer to the conflict now, but it’s actually had surprisingly many names.
Why, just nurse, of course. But if someone asked you, you’d probably still think for a moment, wouldn’t you? Because it does feel very much like a female job in a lot of ways. And it’s still a role mostly performed by women. It’s evidence of the persistence of gender stereotypes like the idea that women are more natural caregivers.
So of course even though the word for a male nurse is still just nurse, we usually specify that someone is a male nurse. That’s not too surprising, considering how deep our associations between nursing and femininity go.
-It must be great to have all those long holidays !
-Well no actually, I’m actually busiest in the summer. In fact, I never take a holiday in July or August.
-Oh, so you’re not a proper teacher then ?
-What kind of teacher are you then ?
-I’m an English teacher.
-Ah, Shakespeare and all that. You must love books !
-Well actually, not that kind of English teacher.
-Ok… I think I’m going to talk to someone else now…
You may have heard of the Paradise Papers, which have revealed some of the figure financial dealings of the super-rich. Reading about them is interesting because of how careful the better journalists are with their use of language. Because, a single misused word can make a big difference.
Well, it depends, doesn’t it?
Even if you’ve never thought about it before, it’s perhaps not too surprising that the word into is a combination of the words in and to. If you think about any sentence in which you might use the word, it clearly combines the meaning of both:
He walked into the room.
To is there because there’s movement, and to usually comes after verbs of movement. In is there because he ends up in the room. Easy. But, does this mean we can always replace in to with into?