City of Words: the Language and Culture blog

International Women’s Day 2018

Today (8 March) is International Women’s Day 2018. To commemorate this annual global event, we are celebrating the work of poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, short story writer and lawyer, M. NourbeSe Philip. Philip was born on 3 February 1947 in Woodlands on the Caribbean island of Tobago. After graduating from the University of the West Indies,…

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Help from the city of dreaming spires

We always defer to Oxford Dictionaries when proofreading and editing for clients. Their website is an essential – and free! – resource for all writers of UK and US English. We also recommend their excellent tips and advice on English grammar here.


Date order

As a proofreader of English texts, on a daily basis, I work on manuscripts written in both the UK and US versions of the language. The choice of which version of English to proofread in is always determined by the client, for example, because of their geographical location or their publisher’s style rules. I briefly…

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‘Unsexing’ the English language

Addressing gender specificity, neutrality and fluidity in written English Of late, abuses of patriarchy in Hollywood, the theatre and politics have dominated the news. For many, we are witnessing a step change in terms of what modern society considers to be acceptable, decent and inclusive. History will tell. If modern society does indeed choose to…

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European Day of Languages 2017

Celebrating Europe’s rich linguistic diversity Today (26 September) is the Council of Europe’s European Day of Languages. There are 24 languages that are officially recognized within the European Union. There are also more than 60 indigenous regional and minority languages, as well as numerous non-indigenous languages spoken by migrant communities. That’s not including the many…

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Our tribute to Sir Peter Hall (1930-2017)

Here at Language and Culture, we are sorry to learn of the death of Sir Peter Hall, the British stage, opera and film director, who founded the Royal Shakespeare Company at the age of only 29. For us, as for many, his artistic directorship of the National Theatre in the 1980s was a remarkable period for British drama…

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Jim Cartwright: a theatrical road less travelled

Cast of the 2017 Royal Court Theatre production of Road by Jim Cartwright (image credit: Sarah Weal) Tonight (21 July), the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Downstairs in London’s Sloane Square begins its revival of Jim Cartwright’s play, Road. This production, directed by John Tiffany and starring the actor, writer and Chancellor of the University of Manchester Lemn…

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Manchester landmark immortalized in Lego

Manchester was the first local authority to provide a public lending and reference library after the passing of the Public Libraries Act 1850. The original library, which was based at Campfield, was opened by Charles Dickens in 1852. The current Manchester Central Library, designed by Vincent Harris and constructed between 1930 and 1934, is based on the (second century) Pantheon in…

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Hong Kong handover 20 years on

An artistic representation from the People’s Republic Today marks the 20th anniversary of the ceremony in which the UK Government returned Hong Kong to China. This transfer of sovereignty marked the end of a lease agreement – known as the Second Convention of Peking – between London and Beijing, signed in 1898. In this agreement, control of…

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Salford Lads Club

Salford Lads Club and The Smiths connection On 16 June 1986, the legendary Manchester pop ground The Smiths released their third album, The Queen Is Dead. Today, one day after its 31st anniversary, we visited Salford Lads Club. Most fans of British pop music will be familiar with Stephen Wright’s iconic photograph of Morrissey et…

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