When local television news viewers start calling out meteorologists on their weather-specific grammar, you know people are in that end-of-winter, dark, gloomy, living-in-their-long-johns state of mind. Allow me to come to the defense of on-air weather personalities everywhere to say that “bitter cold” and “bitterly cold” are both correct.
However, there is a difference to be aware of. More
Often, when I’m giving workshops, a hand raises into the air with a great question. Oftentimes, it’s a question that makes me pause and think.
Recently, the question was this: If we should try to make the most of our words and tighten superfluous language, why would you say “oftentimes” instead of just “often”?
It was a fabulous question, one I didn’t immediately have the answer to. More
Who is this Nick we speak of? He must be a time-traveler. No, that doesn’t sound right. It must be “knick of time,” right? Right?
Sometimes our brains want to over-complicate things, believing the simple answer can’t be right and that it must be something more profound. In this vein, I’ve seen “nick of time” written a number of ways—“knick of time” and even “gnick of time” among them. However, plain old “nick” is the correct form for this idiom. More
If you’re using words like “connote” and “denote” to elevate your communications, you’re already set to take on the world, using your vocabulary to strut your stuff. The problem comes when you don’t actually realize what you’re saying.
That’s never a good thing.
When it comes to “connote” vs. “denote,” think of “connections” and “definitions.” More
Itty bitty, tiny little hiccups in our writing might not always be noticed, but that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t try to do better—even when some people say these mistakes are okay.
- “Minuscule” is a big word with a tiny meaning. Literally. It means to be incredibly small. It comes from a diminutive of “minus,” or minusculus in Latin.
- “Miniscule” is a confused spelling, taking the idea of “mini” and mixing up the words. “Miniscule” isn’t the standard spelling. If you were in a spelling bee, it would be considered incorrect. However, because this word is misspelled so often, it’s starting to become an alternate form. Mini-me probably isn’t behind the surge of this spelling faux pas, but maybe remembering his work with Dr. Evil might help you remember that this isn’t the accepted usage you’re looking for.
There’s a strategy for being patient and waiting for something difficult to pass, and then there’s falling down after your golf ball lands in a sand trap. Which one do you mean?
The expression you’re looking for is to “hunker down.” To “bunker down” is not actually a thing. More
Sure, I already cover this in Get a Grip on Your Grammar, but ’tis the season for a reminder.
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If your buddy is “lit,” he’s either drunk or he’s wearing a light-up Christmas sweater. If he’s “lighted,” I suppose you know intoxication is out of the question, but is there a difference otherwise? Should you be worried about flairs of flame?
The difference between “lighted” and “lit” is a question that comes up fairly frequently, and people are always looking for the simple answer. More