Category Archives: Did you know?

The quiz: 13 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary in 2015

Three years ago, a colleague of mine wrote the word “selfie” on the board. She says none of her students knew what the word meant. Nowadays, even my great grandmother, should I have one, would most definitely know what a “selfie” is, and would probably have taken one or two to send her peers.

It is said that the English language has more words than any other language in the world and it seems it might be true. The Oxford Dictionary Online stores over 600,000 words. Despite this number, new words are coined, clipped and blended all the time and although some of them are very soon forgotten, others make their way into the dictionary.
But how do they choose the words they include in a dictionary? The answer is simple: people need to use them. Basically editors watch the word for several years to see how it is used in both spoken and written English. They check to see that the word is used to express an idea clearly, and that the idea is understood. Then, when the word is seen in writing and speech regularly, it can go in the dictionary.

New words are added every year, but also words that are no longer used are eliminated.

Every year, the Oxford Dictionary selects a Word of the Year. “Selfie” was chosen Word of the Year three years ago. This year, the award has been given to the emoji (plural emoji or emojis) Face with Tears of Joy. The decision to choose a pictogram as word of the year, when it is clearly not a word, has been publicly criticized by many. But despite the selection of this word being frowned upon in many circles, the question to consider is: if words are used to communicate, aren’t emojis also used to communicate feelings and emotions in this new digital era?

So, as stated above, lots of new words enter the dictionaries every year. In this little quiz below you will find some of the most recent additions to the dictionaries

Are you up to the challenge?

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Did you Know…. hung or hanged?

I can almost see my students smiling with a hint of irony painted on their faces when they hear me saying the words” English is very easy”. And yes, you  might disagree with me here but  it all depends on what language you compare it with and, in their case, Spanish grammar is a far cry from English grammar, being the first much more complicated to understand. I am also well aware of the difficulties they have when learning English but we need to focus on the positive things. I wouldn’t be doing a good job if I don’t motivate my students!

But… sometimes… only sometimes, English could be a bit confusing, and the use of  hung and hanged is a little quirk of the English language.

This is what one of my students wrote . “He said that  nobody  lived in that house  because the man who lived there had killed all his family and then he hung himself.”

I crossed it off and wrote “hanged” instead. The verb “hang” can be regular or irregular. You study:

                 hang- hung/hanged-hung/hanged

So far, easy.But when do you use “hung” and when “hanged”? The explanation can be either short or long. I think I’ll go for the short one as you can always check meanings and use in a good dictionary.

  • Hanged is used  when the meaning is
  1. to kill somebody  by tying a rope attached from  above around their neck and removing the support from beneath them .

                              The prisoner  was ​found guilty of the crime  and hanged ​.

       2.  (slang) to damn or be damned: used in mild curses or interjections. 

                               I’ll be hanged before I ask her out again

  • Hung is preferred in all other senses of the word.

Once clarified, it isn’t that difficult, is it?

Do you have time for a little test?

[spoiler title=’Some pictures ___ on the walls of his house’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’His arms __ down limply,  over the edge of the couch.’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’Red meat is __ for at least 28 days, making for a memorable steak’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’He was __ for murder’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hanged[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’I am __if I know’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hanged[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’A ​heavy ​gold ​necklace __ around her ​neck.’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hung[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=’He _____ himself from a beam in the attic’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]hanged[/spoiler]