Is ‘trickish’ a word? Yes

Have you ever been told ‘trickish’ is not an English word? Or that it’s from Nigerian English? Seems most of us have, but that’s not true. ‘Trickish’ is no longer popular because it’s an old-fashioned word (adjective) used to describe a behaviour or skill that is intended to deceive or trick. The word is still used in Scrabble in the UK, US, Canada, etc. and entered in popular dictionaries (e.g. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/trickish). You can avoid using it because of its acceptability status and use ‘tricky’ instead, but don’t say it’s not…

Read More

Singular ‘they’: facts you can’t ignore

Quick tip: Singular they had been in existence long before its criticism by traditional grammarians. Linguists and language experts have argued about the use of they as an epicene third-person singular pronoun over the years: while some find it ungrammatical, others see it as a solution to certain gender-sensitive issues in contemporary English. Let’s analyse this discourse from the foundation. Personal pronouns are he, she, him, her, they, them, we, us, you and it; he, she, him and her distinguish between male and female genders, but when we write about…

Read More

Unforgiveness: not an English word?

Quick answer: No, unforgiveness is not an English word. Have we been foolish for using it for so long? Definitely not! Then why is it so popular? Relax, take a deep breath and let’s discuss it. Forgiveness (noun) is the act of not blaming, not being angry or not punishing someone for something they have done to you. The opposite—as a rule—should be a noun, so unforgiveness was coined and it became popular. Research has shown that you cannot find this word in any English dictionary and that it emanated…

Read More

Onset and outset: most controversial pair simplified

Onset and outset (both nouns) are apparently the most controversial English pair I’ve come across. I researched their similarities and differences for months and got some answers—both the confusing and the convincing.  Despite that, I’ve found a common solution from reliable sources on contemporary English. To avoid being sentimental, let’s look at a few of the answers I found on English language forums across different continents. Onset describes the beginning of something that will continue; outset describes the beginning of something that has not been experienced before. Onset indicates that…

Read More