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Phrases

This category contains 22 posts

Note 192 – ‘In doing so’ v ‘in so doing’

A work colleague emailed me today with this scenario: ‘In doing so’ versus ‘In so doing’ – which is better or grammatically correct?  Or is it the use of old fashioned language to use the latter? Before researching, my immediate thought was that ‘in doing so’ sounds better, but after a quick glance at some forums both … Continue reading

Note 181 – The French phrase ‘vis à vis’

Vis à vis is a preposition meaning ‘in relation to’ or ‘regarding’ according to the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus.  Here are a few facts noted from Phrases.org.uk about the phrase vis à vis: The French spell it vis à vis. The English sometimes miss off the grave accent on the à and print it as ‘vis-a-vis’ or ‘viz-a-viz’. … Continue reading

Note 160 – Should you put a comma after ‘bracketing commas’?

This point came up in an email conversation today with a friend and I would like to thank him for the inspiration for today’s blog. I had previously told him that you shouldn’t put commas either side of bracketing commas (for more on this, see Note 3: The use of brackets and bracketing commas), or … Continue reading

Note 138 – The expression ‘faux pas’

The noun faux pas (pronounced fo pa) is a French expression, literally translated as ‘false step’.  It is commonly used in British English where the actual meaning is “social blunder or indiscretion” (according to The Free Dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faux+pas and the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus).  Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faux_pas also define it as “a slip or blunder in etiquette, manners, or conduct”. According to Wikipedia the words faux pas … Continue reading

Note 111 – What is an idiom?

“It was raining cats and dogs” is a well-known idiom and although the phrase does mean it’s raining heavily, it has nothing to do with cats and dogs, according to book The Queen’s English.  In his book Bernard C Lamb explains that “in idioms, the words taken together have a different meaning from their separate literal meanings”. My … Continue reading

Note 101 – Clean up your clichés

A cliché is a phrase or expression that someone somewhere has expressed as an original thought which becomes overused.  According to Graham King in his book Collins Improve your Writing, some clichés go back centuries, for example, left in the lurch dates back to 1576 and comes from the English poet Gabriel Harvey. It’s common to … Continue reading

Note 80 – Some notes on ‘etc.’

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4. If you would prefer to dive straight into note 80, then please read on… The long and short form Etc., is a latin abbreviation meaning ‘and so on’, therefore you don’t ever need to write ‘and etc.’ … Continue reading

Note 74 – The subtle difference between ‘like’ and ‘such as’

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4. If you would prefer to dive straight into note 74, then please read on… Recap on notes 72 and 73 Yesterday I blogged about the words like and as (see note 73) and how like is … Continue reading

Note 73 – Using the words ‘like’ and ‘as’

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4. If you would prefer to dive straight into note 73, then please read on… The words ‘like’ and ‘as’ are used quite a bit in writing, but are they always used correctly?  You will be pleased … Continue reading

Note 72 – The difference between a phrase and a clause

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-4. If you would prefer to dive straight into note 72, then please read on… A phrase contains a verb but a clause does not. It’s sounds quite simple when you put it into one sentence.  Here are … Continue reading

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