Mind your own Business!

If you’re very busy, what noun do you use to describe the state you’re in? Would it be… busyness? No, that doesn’t look or sound right, does it? It’s kind of uncanny, because it sounds like business, but it isn’t, and it looks weird with the Y before the suffix -ness.

Continue reading

Hours, Minutes, Seconds

I had another of those putting-two-and-two-together moments today. I was trying to elicit the word second from a student. This was in the context of saying a date. This is often quite tricky for French speakers. In French you refer to a date as, for example, le vingt decembre (today’s date). If you were to literally translate this into English, it would be the twenty December, as opposed to the twentieth of December. French speakers often therefore take a while to get used to adding the the and of, and using the ordinal form of the number.

Continue reading

Did you Watch Strictly at the Weekend?

No, I didn’t, sorry, I never watch it.

I’m referring here of course to popular BBC Saturday-evening dance programme Strictly Come Dancing (translated into American English as Dancing with the Stars). It’s often referred to simply as Strictly, but if you step back and think about it, isn’t that a little odd?

Continue reading