The singular they

The English language makes it relatively easy to write in a gender-neutral way because nouns in general do not have a gender; a gender is only specified when referring to people or animals. Hence, there is only one indefinite article (the) and two definite articles (a or an, see here). Compare this to German, where

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How vs. What

Today I want to address a mistake that is very common among non-native speakers, namely the confusion of how and what … like in forming questions. While I always had a reasonably good intuition when to use which, I learned that there is actually some logic behind it. According to my trusted book Practical English

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To treat vs. to invite

Inspired by a recent stay in a hotel (see picture), let me point out that there is a subtle but important difference in meaning between the verbs treat and invite. The situation is made even trickier by the fact that other languages (in particular German) do not have this distinction. Consider the following two sentences:

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English for gourmets

Fine dining has become a hobby for many people, so it makes sense to acquire the necessary vocabulary. Because the English-speaking countries were for a long time not exactly known for their exquisite food, many of the expressions are in fact of French origin. An amuse-bouche or amuse-gueule (listen here) (known as Gruß aus der

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Expressions worth speaking about: spoken for and bespoke

Today I’m writing about two interesting expressions derived from the verb to speak that you may not have encountered before. First, the adjective spoken for means already claimed or being kept for somebody according to the OLD. In particular, spoken for is an old-fashioned synonym for married. Fortunately, the times when married women were literally

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