If you start a new job, or agree to buy something, you might have to sign a contract.

The word contract was originally usually used to refer to marriage, and comes from the Latin com (with, together) and trahere (to draw). Which makes sense really: if you give marry someone, you’re agreeing to draw closer together, and if you sign a contract with a company, you’re agreeing to draw together with them.

Isn’t if funny though, when we use contract as a verb?

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Word Stress

This post is inspired by two common and related questions I often see posed online:

  1. Can an English word have two equally-stressed syllables?
  2. Can an English word have no stressed syllables?

Before answering (and mercifully, the answer to both questions is the same, and quite simple), let’s have a look at what word stress actually is. Continue reading

Daily Prompt: Protest

via Daily Prompt: Protest

What’s the difference between the following words in bold:

I’d like to protest about my treatment!

I’m going to a protest about the treatment of refugees tomorrow.

If you’re linguistically minded, or simply very smart, you may have answered that even though they look identical, the first one is a verb, and the second a noun. You can tell from the context of the sentences. But if you were listening to someone recite those sentences, there’d be another clue to help you know the difference. Think about how you’d say both, or say them both out loud, if it’s not too embarrassing, and see if you can figure out the clue.

If you’re still not sure of the difference, here’s a visual aid: Continue reading