Be Wary of New Words that Disguise their Real Meaning

Our language is vibrant and flexible, constantly changing as it reflects the changing nature of the world it describes. Communication has always been enriched by varieties of slang, for example, and by the emergence of new words and phrases that sometimes refer to a new reality, and at other times […] Read more »

The Assertive Way to Fight Body Shaming

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For years and years, the practice of making fun of fat or thin people has been a staple of cartoons, picture postcards, film and television comedies, books and stories. It’s what we do, mock and marginalise our fellow humans who don’t conform to some manufactured ideal of physical appearance. The […] Read more »

How to Deal with Workplace Jargon

The Oxford English Dictionary has asked the public to contribute examples of the work-specific language — slang, technical terms, acronyms, ‘in’ phrases — which is current in their profession. The fine lexicographers at the OED are following the practice of Sir James Murray, who in 1878 took on the huge […] Read more »

How Parents Can Manage the Stress of Exam Results

Once upon a time, way back in the day when there were only two television channels available and they were both in black and white, the only people interested in exam results were those directly involved. The results arrived at your house by post, in an envelope addressed to you, […] Read more »

It Is What It Isn’t

The expression ‘it is what it is’ has been in use for a good few years, but seems to have extended its reach to all kinds of situations in which it is too often used to mask attitudes which limit rather than encourage communication and understanding. In some contexts, the […] Read more »

How to be Properly Busy

We tend to use the word ‘busy’ to indicate being active and having a lot to do. But the term has lost its neutral descriptive quality and become loaded with implications and judgements about the value of our lives. Perhaps it’s the word which is offputting. ‘Busy’ isn’t a great […] Read more »

How Words Can Cloud Our Thinking

The words we use in everyday interactions are under intense scrutiny. In some contexts, we are increasingly aware of how language can be used to hurt, to demean, to belittle, to exclude. We choose words carefully, not wanting to offend through carelessness or ignorance, and not wanting to take offence […] Read more »

How to Stay Authentic in Difficult Situations

One of the most well-meaning but useless pieces of advice that many of us have received and that many of us have given (come on, hands up) is the recommendation to ‘just be yourself’. They’ll love you, we add. Of course you’ll get the job. Of course your date will […] Read more »

When a Phone Call is Better than a Text Message

Text messages are, naturally, indispensable. It could be argued that the ability to exchange text messages is a major marker of our development as human beings (insert emoji of your choice). Instant communication has transformed the way we interact in our personal and professional lives. We have evolved to meet […] Read more »