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Close But No Tomato

Lucy, a middle-school student in San Diego, California, is puzzled by a phrase her mother uses when something is not quite up to snuff or falls short of the mark: close, but no tomato. It appears to be a variant of close, but no cigar, a phrase...

Mixed English Accents

A listener in Romania learned English in the Southern U.S., but after going back home to where a British English is taught, people are having a hard time understanding his accent. Where we learn a language plays a big role in how we speak it. This...

Shtreet

Did you say “shtreet”? The str sound is becoming shtr in the mouths of English speakers. Grant explains that this pronunciation of “street” as “shtreet” is simply a feature of language — sort of the consonant...

anchor baby

anchor baby n. a child born of an immigrant in the United States, said to be a device by which a family can find legal foothold in the US, since those children are automatically allowed to choose American citizenship. Also anchor child, a very young...