Word Facts

  1. What Do “Numpire” and “Ewt” Have in Common?

    These funny-looking words may not be recognizable, but they were the ancestors of our modern-day umpire and newt. So, how did they evolve into their current forms? Because of the pesky letter n, the indefinite article a/an, and the fact that a bunch of English-speakers hundreds of years ago had hearing problems. The bouncing n and rebracketing Words like numpire and ewt underwent a process we’re playfully calling the …

  2. Terms To Know In Order To Seal The Deal

  3. Famous Names That Inspired Common Words

  4. Whose vs. Who’s

    Apostrophe or no apostrophe, that is the question. Well, to begin to answer that question, whose is the possessive form of the pronoun who, while who’s is a contraction of the words who is or who has. However, many people still find whose and who’s particularly confusing because, in English, an apostrophe followed by an s usually indicates the possessive form of a word. (For example, a purse belonging to a woman is “the woman’s purse.”) Not the case …

  5. Words That Are Older Than You Think

  6. What’s the #’s Real Name?

    On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you tag your friends with the @ symbol and topics with the #. If you see something that says “#WordoftheDay,” the tweet or post has something to do with Word of the Day. And once you click on that marked topic, you’ll likely see all public posts about it. It’s a great tool for finding people who are talking about a …

  7. Their, There, and They’re

    The trio of their, there, and they’re can flummox writers of all levels. It’s confusing; they are homophones, meaning they have the same pronunciation but differ in meaning and derivation. Even though they sound the same, they aren’t spelled the same . . . and cue the noticeable errors! Let’s explore the correct usages of the three. Their is the possessive case of the pronoun …

  8. Words That Can Ruin Your Sentence

  9. Who to Blame for English Spellings!

    Let’s be honest: It’s practically impossible to be a “good” speller in English. The way words are spelled in English just don’t match how they are pronounced. Why, English language, why? Well, we can start by blaming William Caxton and the printing press. Diving into the historical context Let’s begin at the beginning, though: England, 1476. Norman French presence was in decline as the Bubonic Plague …

  10. Words That Are Their Own Opposites

    English is weird: There are words that can mean two opposite things. Here’s what we mean: