Writing Tip 362: “Tamp down” vs. “Tap down”

Writing Tip 362: “Tamp down” vs. “Tap down”

Rumors are flying, so what do you do? Do you tamp them down or tap them down? If a business strategy isn’t quite working, are profits tamped down or tapped down? Sure, you think trouble might come from uppercuts and jabs, but here’s a case when gentle tapping (or should I say, “tamping”?) causes the […]

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Writing Tip 361: “Macaroon” vs. “Macaron”

Writing Tip 361: “Macaroon” vs. “Macaron”

Thanks to Cookie Monster, we know “C” is for “cookie,” but there’s so much more we need to learn. For example, what is the difference between a “macaron” and a “macaroon”? They are both delicious cookies, but they are quite different. One is easy to make; one is not. One is chewy; one has an […]

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"Button down" vs "batten down" the hatches

Writing Tip 360: “Button Down” or “Batten Down” the Hatches

Whether the stormy weather comes from a hurricane, tornado, or simply a boss on a rampage, you need to at least be aware of whether you need to “button down” or “batten down” the hatches. One is the correct idiom. Neither are really something your sewing kit can handle. ​This is an idiom that comes […]

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Writing Tip 359: “Ye/You” vs. “Thee/Thou” (and the endless pursuit of a plural “you”)

Writing Tip 359: “Ye/You” vs. “Thee/Thou” (and the endless pursuit of a plural “you”)

Where I grew up, “y’all” is as everyday as the Appalachian Mountains that surround you like an embrace, but I now have family and friends who cringe a bit at that word. A few even occasionally use “yous,” and I try my best not to shudder, though I realize my own regionalisms probably have the […]

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Writing Tip 358: “Bring” vs. “Take”

Writing Tip 358: “Bring” vs. “Take”

Bring it on. See what I’m saying here? I’m inviting you to deliver a challenge my way, and I’m ready for it. Today, that challenge just happens to be the usage of “bring” vs. “take.” If you need to deliver a book to your neighbor’s, should you “take it next-door” or “bring it next-door”? There […]

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Writing Tip 357: Peter Piper Picked a What?

Writing Tip 357: Peter Piper Picked a What?

Peter Piper didn’t pick a “pack” of pickled peppers. Peter Piper picked a “peck” of pickled peppers. But have you ever wondered what the heck a peck was? It’s a bafflement of generations. We practice the tongue twister, never teasing the meaning from the lines. But it’s time to elevate our comprehension.

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"If I was" vs. "if I were" - wishing

Writing Tip 356: “If I Was” vs. “If I Were”

If I were a rich man… If I were a boy… Whether you want to start this “if I was” vs. “if I were” conversation with Fiddler on the Roof or Beyoncé, it’s a conversation we need to have. Let’s talk unreal conditionals and the subjunctive mood. Actually, no, let’s not. That doesn’t sound very […]

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