April 24, 2017

Lighted vs. Lit

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The hardboiled detective lighted the mysterious lady's cigarette? Or he lit it? Her face lighted up? Or her face lit up? Here's how to choose.

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April 17, 2017

What's an Acronym?

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According to some dictionaries, an acronym is exactly what you think it is. According to one very influential dictionary, it's not. Spoiler alert: If you pronounce the initials as a single word, like NAFTA, this dictionary says it's an acronym. If you pronounce each letter individually, like FBI, it's not.

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April 10, 2017

"Both" Before Multiple Nouns

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Both passengers were fine. 

Nothing wrong with that. But what about: Both passengers and the crew were fine.

Does that mean that there were only two passengers? Or might there be multiple passengers and "both" just meant to indicate passengers and the crew alike were fine? Something to think about when you use "both" before multiple nouns. If the first noun is plural, "both" can only confuse.

 

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April 3, 2017

Less vs. Fewer

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The less-vs.-fewer debate is less about right and wrong than most people believe. Still, published writing follows a standard that says to keep them separate.

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March 27, 2017

Forgo vs. Forego

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Any copy editor can tell you that not many writers know the difference between "forgo" and "forego." The one without an e is usually the one you want. It means to do without. The one with an e is less common. It means to go before. Here's the full story.

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March 20, 2017

Done vs. Finished

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Remember how when you were through eating you used to say "I'm done" then your mom would swiftly chime in that, "No. You're finished." With apologies to your mom, that's just not so.

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March 13, 2017

Anxious vs. Eager

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Their definitions overlap. But their different connotations can give your writing more power.

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March 6, 2017

What Does Biweekly Mean? How About Bimonthly?

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We often use "biweekly" to mean once every two weeks, but "bimonthly" often means twice a month? Here's a look at the most confusing prefix in the English language.

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February 27, 2017

Flyer vs. Flier

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When do you use "flier" and when is "flyer" the correct choice? The answer's a bit up in the air. #PunShame

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February 20, 2017

Trooper vs. Trouper

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A quick reminder to keep these two words straight.

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