English language Archive

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The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language

The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language. George Bernard Shaw, widely attributed beginning in the 1940s, e.g. Reader’s Digest (November 1942). Not found in his published works. Variant: The English and the Americans are two peoples divided by a common language

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Bad people? What kind of bad people?

Bad people? What kind of bad people? Members of the Church of Satan? Insurance salesmen? People who don’t speak English?” Wayne Gerard Trotman, Ashes to Ashes

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We have really everything in common with America nowadays

We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language. Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

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When learning English as a second language

When learning English as a second language, be sure to garble small words out of order in incomplete sentences. Then you’ll have achieved the proficiency of a native speaker. Bauvard, Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic

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The majesty and grandeur of the English language

I know your head aches. I know you’re tired. I know your nerves are as raw as meat in a butcher’s window. But think what you’re trying to accomplish—just think what you’re dealing with. The majesty and grandeur of the English language; it’s the greatest possession we have. The noblest thoughts that

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Polysyllables obfuscate a preponderant ignorance

Polysyllables obfuscate a preponderant ignorance with so much more style and panache. John Patrick Lowrie, Dancing With Eternity

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Opportunities for misreadings in English

In a language as idiomatically stressed as English, opportunities for misreadings are bound to arise. By a mere backward movement of stress, a verb can become a noun, an act a thing. To refuse, to insist on saying no to what you believe is wrong, becomes at a stroke refuse, an insurmountable

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English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. James D. Nichols

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Speak like English aristocrats before the First World War

“I guess that isn’t the right word,” she said. She was used to apologizing for her use of language. She had been encouraged to do a lot of that in school. Most white people in Midland City were insecure when they spoke, so they kept their sentences short and their words simple,

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Writing in English is like throwing mud at a wall

Writing in English is like throwing mud at a wall. Joseph Conrad
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