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Advanced Dunglish… the blog

  • Click the heading to read the blog post
  • After opening a post, you can:
    • select various categories such as Punctuation or US-UK issues to find related posts
    • select tags to find other items about the same specific topic
    • leave comments (kan ook in het NL, uiteraard)

Fireworks

Dutch treats the broad concept of pyrotechnics as a singular noun, “vuurwerk”. English doesn’t: fireworks are in the plural.

“Proud to be a PSV-fan”

A typical Dutch hyphen, except that this one was big (and I mean BIG) – several metres in length, in the backdrop to a Europa League game.

Year before subject

The 2021 report, 2012 Olympics, the 2017 Conference, the 1986 Displaced Persons Act… The year comes first if there’s no other small word in between.

Decimal coinage

Fifty years ago this week, Britain got rid of its notorious system of pounds, shillings and pence: great for dividing fractions in medieval times, but not much use with computers.

Mo-Fr, Sa+Su

You’re probably not going to confuse anybody by using two-letter abbreviations for days. But English doesn’t do that.

Propaedeutic? Um…

A dictionary-only word that you shouldn’t use in English. (With or without the -ae- spelling variant.) Nobody knows it.

Don’t get personal

Remember that ‘personal’ often has overtones of private, intimate and secret and not merely ‘related to the individual’.

Sir McCartney…?

Nope. On the rare occasions you’re referring to somone with the title, it goes with the first name: Sir Paul. Otherwise ‘sir’ is a standalone without any name attached.

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