Word comparisons

This category contains 78 posts

Note 265 – Word confusions: proof, prove and proving

This week I have been looking at commonly misspelled words, and ‘proof’, ‘prove’ and ‘proving’ fall into this category.  Although I know that proof has two ‘o’s and prove hasn’t, I tend to pause when writing ‘prove’ or ‘proving’ as it sounds like they should have a second ‘o’ (as in ‘proove’ or ‘prooving’). An article on … Continue reading

Note 264 – Word confusions: Do you confuse lose with loose?

A work colleague suggested today’s blog.  He told me that he’s seeing an increasing amount of people confusing the words lose and loose.  Apparently it’s been a word confusion for many years, more so recently because of predictive texts.  Why is everybody starting to spell “lose” wrong? writes a very frustrated user on yahoo answers.  This question is … Continue reading

Note 237 – Do you lay or lie on the settee?

I often have to think about this one before I write it.  Does a person lay on the settee or do they lie on it? The answer is, you lie on it.  Richard Lamb in his book The Queen’s English, says “I object when told to lay on the chiropractor’s couch.  Lay what?”. Before I continue, none of this relates to … Continue reading

Note 217 – Is it spelt descendent or descendant?

I saw this word written down today and had to look it up to see if there was also a spelling of descendent.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, descendant is a word that is frequently looked up; however, from my research today, it appears that no one has provided a comparison of these two spellings before. … Continue reading

Note 212 – Comparing speciality and specialty

What is the true difference between speciality and specialty?  Is it because the former is British English and the latter is American English? I decided to trawl the internet and a few books in the library today to find out some more, but the answer is not that straighforward.  First I’ll start with some definitions. Definition (as … Continue reading

Note 172 – Is the spelling installment or instalment?

Whenever I type this word, I struggle to remember if it is spelt instalment or installment.  Today, I got caught out by someone reviewing one of my other blogs (which inspired me to write today’s blog), so as usual I went looking for explanations.  Wiki Answers explains that installment and instalment both mean the same, but installment (with a … Continue reading

Note 171 – Is the spelling focussed or focused?

Is it focussed or focused?  A work colleague asked me how to spell this word today and I had to look it up.  The Colllins English dictionary and Merriam Webster‘s website indicated that both spellings were correct.  I decided to Google it to find out which is preferred. says “This word [focussed or focused] can take either double or … Continue reading

Note 165 – ‘between you and me’ v ‘between you and I’

It’s a common mistake to write ‘between you and I’; however the correct way of writing this is ‘between you and me’.  If we break the phrase down, the word ‘between’ is a preposition and the words ‘you’ and ‘I’ are personal pronouns.  When personal pronouns follow prepositions, they should be in the object form and not the subject … Continue reading

Note 156 – Comparing ‘efficiency’ and ‘effectiveness’

During my research today, I found many definitions and explanations of the words efficiency and effectiveness, but my favourites are Peter F. Drucker’s and the Cambridge Dictionaries online: Definitions from Cambridge Dictionaries Online Efficiency When someone or something uses time and energy well, without wasting any Effectiveness  Successful or achieving the results that you want reading

Note 152 – Comparing ‘a lot’, ‘alot’ and ‘allot’

Today I am comparing ‘a lot’, ‘alot’ and ‘allot’; however one of them doesn’t exist in the English language. defines the words as follows: A LOT means “a large number or amount” ALOT is sometimes used, but is not a word in the English language. ALLOT is a verb meaning “given or apportion (something) to someone” Here are some examples in sentences: … Continue reading


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