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Word comparisons

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Note 151 – Comparing weather, whether and wether

Today I am comparing three very different words which are all pronounced the same – weather, whether and wether.  Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus defines the words as follows: WEATHER is a noun meaning “day to day meterorological conditions” WHETHER is a conjunction “used to introduce an indirect question or a clause after a verb expressing or … Continue reading

Note 150 – Comparing ‘avenge’ and ‘revenge’

The words avenge and revenge have different meanings.  This blog shows the definitions of the two words as well as some examples of their use in sentences. AVENGE According to the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus, the verb avenge means “get revenge for” and “to inflict a punishment in retaliation for (harm, injury etc) done to (a person … Continue reading

Note 149 – Principal and principle

Although principal and principle are pronounced the same, they have very different meanings.  Oxford Dictionaries online http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/principal defines the noun principal as “the most important or senior person in an organisation or group”; however, it is a common error to forget that principal can also be an adjective meaning “main” or “first in order of importance”.  Here are some examples: … Continue reading

Note 141 – The difference between ‘anyone’ and ‘anybody’

There are a lot of conflicting articles around on this subject.  The Cambridge Dictionaries online defines anyone as “used in questions and negatives to mean ‘a person or people’” http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/anyone?q=anyone and the Oxford Dictionaries online has a very similar definition.  Interestingly, if you look up anybody in both online dictionaries, it says anyone.  The Dr Grammar site: http://www.drgrammar.org/search/node/anybody also suggests … Continue reading

Note 140 – Writing ‘among’ and ‘amongst’

Several websites and forums researched today suggest that the words among and amongst can be used interchangeably.  According to question 117 on Dr Grammar’s frequently asked questions: http://www.drgrammar.org/frequently-asked-questions#117 “both are correct and mean the same, but among is more common”. According to a few other websites, among is used in American English and is also the ‘modern’ way in British English, … Continue reading

Note 139 – Do you use ‘between’ and ‘among’ correctly?

Thank you to my work colleague who gave me the idea for today’s writing tip – it’s one of her pet hates when people get this wrong.  The rules are that you use between when relating to two things and among when it’s more than two.  I’ve created some examples below: There is enough jelly and ice … Continue reading

Note 136 – Difference between former and latter

Using the words former and latter in a sentence can help you avoid repetition, but should only be used when referring to two previously listed things. Former refers to the first point mentioned and latter refers to the second.  The Pocket Writer’s Handbook by Martin Mander & Stephen Curtis explains that these words should be avoided if … Continue reading

Note 131 – The words ‘onym’ and ‘onymous’

Onym means ‘word’ or ‘name’ and comes from the Greek word onumon (as cited in the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus).  There are also many words formed from using ‘-onym’ as a suffix.  Words with this ending, refer to special kinds of words or names e.g. antonym and synonym (also see note 69: http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-ci).  Other … Continue reading

Note 129 – The difference between distinct and distinctive

It’s a common error to use distinct instead of distinctive and vice versa.  According to The Pocket Writer’s Handbook by Martin Manser & Stephen Curtis, distinct means “‘clear’, ‘clearly noticeable’ or ‘separate and different’”; however, distinctive means that something has its own “special and unmistakable character”. Consider the following sentences: There is a distinct noise coming from … Continue reading

Note 127 – Using the words ‘may’ and ‘might’

It’s quite common to mistakenly use the word may instead of the word might and vice versa.  Collins Improve your Writing Skills by Graham King explains that you should use the word may in present and future tense situations “when an outcome is still unknown”, whereas you would use might “when an if is lurking in the background – when … Continue reading

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