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Qustions Of English
Why is "f" used instead of "s" in old-fashioned writing and printing? What does "corned" mean in "corned beef?" How many words are there in the English language? Is the correct plural of "octopus" spelled "octopuses" or "octopi"? Since the Oxford Word and Language Service (OWLS, for short) was launched in 1983, it has been flooded with queries such as the above. The questi ...more
Published March 28th 1996 by Oxford University Press, USA
(first published April 20th 1995)
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In 1983 the Oxford University Press, home of the never-ending Oxford English Dictionary, launched the Oxford Word and Language Service (OWLS for short) as a free reference aid on matters of language and linguistics for everyone from adolescent students to businessmen to puzzle-enthusiasts to translators. Naturally (and as any reference librarian could predict), many of the enquiries they receive are either pretty dumb or amazingly naive, but what’s collected here is (mostly) well-meaning questio ...more