Words, Words, Words

Who or That?

April 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

I saw an orange yard sign that said “YOU’VE BEEN TEA-P’D,” with a handwritten message that said it was sent by “Someone that loves you.” A lovely thought, but I wish the sender had been “Someone who loves you,” instead. Who is for people; that is for everything else. And if you think “people” and…

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Homonym Hints 2

April 21, 2020 | 7 Comments

If I can’t figure out which homonym is used for just one meaning (see Homonym Hints 1), then I look to see if a related word will help me know which homonym to use. My mom pointed out to me that stationery, with an “ery,” refers to letters and envelopes, which also have a bunch…

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Homonym Hints 1

April 14, 2020 | 1 Comment

How do you know which homonym to use? I usually start by trying to decide if one of the words has a unique meaning. Fare versus fair is a good example. If fare is only used for the cost of a taxi ride, then I’ll use fair for everything else – even, balanced, so-so, light…

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Could’ve Confusion

April 7, 2020 | 4 Comments

So many people write “could of” when they mean “could have.” Why? I think it’s because when we say the contraction, “could’ve,” it sounds like “could of.” If folks would think about how the contraction was created, they would realize that the two words forming the contraction could not possibly be “could” plus “of.” Oh,…

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More about “Less”

March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

As a follow up to the “less or fewer” post, let’s clear up the confusion between “I could care less” and “I couldn’t care less.” If you really are at the bottom of caring, then you’ll want to say “I could not care less.” As in, “Nope, that’s it. I care about everything else in…

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Less or Fewer?

March 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

These words are similar but not interchangeable. Less is used for indefinite amounts, as in “We have had less rain this year than last year.” Fewer is used for specific, number-related amounts, as in “Fewer people attended this year than last year.”

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National Grammar Day

March 4, 2020 | 1 Comment

In honor of National Grammar Day on March 4, 2020, I bring you this head-shaking (excerpted) ad for a grammar-based TV show: “The celebrity who’s team guesses the most correct words in a minute wins.” Sigh . . .

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Historic versus Historical

November 26, 2019 | 2 Comments

Historical = something old, like an old house Historic = something old and important, like an old house where a famous author lived Try to avoid using “historically” to modify the word “important” because that can lead to confusion. If you could say “important occasion,” then go with “historic occasion” instead of “historical occasion.” Use…

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