VOCABULARY.COM BLOG

In a piece in The New York Times Magazine's recent education issue with the provocative headline "Why Flunking Exams is Actually a Good Thing," science reporter Benedict Carey delves into the science of pretesting (or using testing as a way to study and learn), an idea that suggests that failing to answer a test question correctly is one of the best ways to stimulate our brains to learn. Continue reading...
Stroll through the hipper districts of any American city in 2014 and you may experience the sense of time being slightly out of joint. On shop signs and menus, words that last flourished a couple of centuries ago—or earlier—have been making a comeback. But no word from the distant past is as antique, or as popular in commerce in so many disparate ways, as apothecary. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Naming, Vocabulary, Words
In conjunction with the kick-off of our yearlong Vocabulary Bowl, we've created school profile pages to recognize word-learning progress at every school actively playing. Now, any school competing in the Bowl can see their name up in lights. Continue reading...
Karen Joy Fowler's PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (now shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize as well) is narrated by a character with an outsize vocabulary. Here, Fowler speaks with Vocabulary.com about the process of finding the words to create that character and the fun of breaking the rule, "Never use a 100-dollar word when a one-dollar word will do." Continue reading...
A team of academic literacy researchers put Vocabulary.com to the test in a study of eleventh grade students using Vocabulary.com in classroom and after-school contexts along with other vocabulary-focused digital learning tools. The results, published in the prestigious, peer-reviewed Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, are unequivocal: Vocabulary.com boosts learning by creating a fun, engaging, and competitive experience where students are in control. Continue reading...
It's time for the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. Here Mignon tackles the question of whether the past-tense form of shine should be shined or shone. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Usage, Words
Recently, science writer Annie Murphy wrote about "E-memory—electronic memory, the kind that's available on a computer" and "O-memory—organic memory, the old-fashioned sort that resides in the brain." Here's how that distinction can help us think about the way we learn words. Continue reading...

Blog Excerpts

Celebrating Labor (and Labour) Day

On the first Monday in September, the United States observes Labor Day, while Canadians celebrate Labour Day. If you want to know why labour is the accepted spelling in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries like Canada, while Americans prefer labor (and color, favor, honor, humor, and neighbor), check out this classic Word Routes column by Ben Zimmer.
TOPICS