Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Is it a noun or an adjective?

The distinction between nouns and adjectives seems like it should be straightforward, but it’s not. Grammar is not as simple as your grade-school teacher presented it.

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In praise of phrases

Writers need to love words—the good, the bad, and the irregular. And they need to respect syntax, the patterns that give words their form. But when writers understand the power of phrases, their sentences shine.

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Word Origins

Dangerous neighbors: “sore” and “sorrow”

Quite naturally, speakers connect words that sound alike. From a strictly scholarly point of view, “sore” and “sorrow” are unrelated, but for centuries, people thought differently, and folk etymology united the two long ago.

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