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Joe's Cafe

Joe's Cafe


Personal blog of EnglishClub founder Josef Essberger - see Menu

The Very Unnaughty Noughties

In previous centuries each decade has generally had a label based on its numerical value:

  • 1950-1959: The Fifties
  • 1960-1969: The Sixties
  • 1970-1979: The Seventies
  • 1980-1989: The Eighties
  • 1990-1999: The Nineties Read on »

End of a decade?

A decade? You guessed it – something to do with 10. Several words with “dec” relate to 10, coming from the Greek “deka” for “ten”. A decapod is an animal with 10 legs. A decahedron is a solid with 10 surfaces. A decathlon is an athletic contests with 10 events. Even December – it’s the 10th month (of the ancient Roman year, before they interfered with it). Decimal – no explanation needed. The verb decimate, which popularly means to kill or destroy a large quantity, also has the original meaning: “to kill one person in 10”. And Read on »


Idiom of the Day

An idiom is a group of words in current usage having a meaning that is not deducible from those of the individual words. For example, “to rain cats and dogs” – which means “to rain very heavily” – is an idiom; and “over the moon” – which means Read on »


current versus contemporary

These two words are very similar some of the time, but can also be very different.

current is an adjective that means “belonging to the present time, happening Read on »


World’s largest English-speaking country?

USA? Think again 🙂


The King is dead. Long live the King!

I received the following question from Jeanette about using capitals:

“I am a writer and always have problems with the following:
‘The king is dead. Long live King Edward.’
‘She told me Captain Lorca read the book. The captain could read.’

I am referring to the same king in the first sentence, and to the same captain in the second.  Why wouldn’t both be capitalized? Thanks for your help. I have no rule to follow with this problem.”

It’s a good question, with (quite) a simple answer.

In the case of “King Edward” and “Captain Lorca” we are using Read on »


Manners

“It is possible to be born an aristocrat without ever becoming a gentleman.”

(Nicholas Ridley)


Life

“Life is what happens while you are making other plans.”

(John Lennon)


Divorce

“Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little.”

(Dr Johnson on divorce laws)


The Oxford Secret

“It is a secret in the Oxford sense. You may tell it to only one person at a time.”

(Lord Franks)