Writing Tip 340: Do you “nash,” “knash,” or “gnash” your teeth?

Writing Tip 340: Do you “nash,” “knash,” or “gnash” your teeth?

You’ve heard it said, but do you know how to spell it? This is another case of the English language being funky and you over-thinking your knowledge of the the nick of time, knots, gnats, and other words with spellings that sound like they should simply begin with the letter “n.”

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Writing Tip 339: “Bitter Cold” vs. “Bitterly Cold”

Writing Tip 339: “Bitter Cold” vs. “Bitterly Cold”

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 […]

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Writing Tip 338: “Often” vs. “Oftentimes” vs. “Oft”

Writing Tip 338: “Often” vs. “Oftentimes” vs. “Oft”

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 […]

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Writing Tip 337: “Nick of Time” vs. “Knick of Time”

Writing Tip 337: “Nick of Time” vs. “Knick of Time”

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? Wrong. 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 […]

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"Connote" vs. "Denote" rowboat

Writing Tip 336: “Connote” vs. “Denote”

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.”

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“Minuscule” vs. “Miniscule”

Writing Tip 335: “Minuscule” vs. “Miniscule”

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,” […]

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Writing Tip 334: “Hunker Down” vs. “Bunker Down”

Writing Tip 334: “Hunker Down” vs. “Bunker Down”

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.

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