September 20, 2021

Done vs. Finished

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A child sitting at the dinner table pushes aside a plate of half-eaten food and announces, “I’m done.” A parent replies, “No, a roast is done. You’re finished.” Is the parent right? Actually, no. Here's the full story.

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September 15, 2021

Historic vs. Historical

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In normal usage, there is a difference between historic and historical.

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September 7, 2021

Is an Acronym Different From an Abbreviation?

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Some dictionaries say an acronym is a specific type of abbreviation that's pronounced as a word, like NAFTA, not a set of individually pronounced letters, like FBI. But not all dictionaries agree.

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August 30, 2021

'Compared To' or 'Compared With'?

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The difference between "compared to" and "compared with" is often exaggerated.

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August 23, 2021

Beg the Question

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Is it wrong to say "It begs the question" when you mean to say "It raises the question"? Not exactly, but you may want to avoid it anyway. Here's why.

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August 16, 2021

Rein vs. Reign

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You rein in spending, like a horse's reins, but your idea reigns supreme, like a queen or king reigns. Here's the whole story.

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August 9, 2021

Anxious vs. Eager

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These two words have distinctly differently emphases, but their meanings overlap.

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August 2, 2021

Zero Relative Pronoun

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You got the job you wanted. You got the job that you wanted. Why is "that" optional? It's called the zero relative pronoun.

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July 26, 2021

Less vs. fewer

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If you think "less" is for mass nouns like "milk," and "fewer" is for count nouns like "jellybeans," you'll choose well most of the time. But you'll do better if you think of "less" as being for singular nouns and "fewer" for plural nouns. Here's the full story.

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July 19, 2021

Forgo and Forego

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Using "forego" in place of "forgo" is a very common error. If you mean to do without something, do without the E.

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