Confusing Words of the Week

Words of the Weekt’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

“Compliment” – an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration

  • “She paid me an enormous compliment on my dress.”

“Complement” is something that completes or makes perfect

  • A good wine is a complement to a good meal.”

Memory Tips:

A complIment is something I like to hear.

COMPLEment COMPLEtes something.

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

Rifle – to ransack and steal

  • They rifled through the dresser drawers looking for valuables.

Riffle – to flip through

  • I don’t like to riffle a magazine, I read it page by page.

Memory Tips:

I would probably think of “riffle” with multiple “f” as the sound a magazine or book makes when your flip the pages–the same sound over and over (we’ll use the “f” sound).

Rifle I would associate with criminals using guns, so criminals are the ones who would be ransacking and stealing.

 

Grammar Giggle – Close Profanity

My daughter sent this one to me. My neighbors may think they live in “close profanity” to me, but I’m pretty sure they meant to say “close proximity.”

Close Profanity

Random Thoughts

RandomThoughtsHere are a few things that I’ve come across lately and thought you might find interesting:

  1. Publically or Publicly? I changed the spelling of “publically” in a document recently and was told that it was a correct alternative spelling and to leave it that way. So I’ve researched it a little bit. It appears “publically” is gaining in popularity, but the majority still favors “publicly” as the correct spelling.
  2. Preventive or Preventative? According to Dictionary.com, the definitions are:

Preventive:

A. Medicine/Medical. Of or noting a drug, vaccine, etc., for preventing disease; prophylactic.

B. serving to prevent or hinder: preventive measures.

Preventative (actually refers you back to Preventive):

A. Medicine/Medical. of or noting a drug, vaccine, etc., for preventing disease; prophylactic.

B. serving to prevent or hinder: preventive measures.

Yep, they are the same. “Preventive” has been used in writings much longer, but “preventative” is gaining ground. “Preventative” is used more frequently outside the United States, while “preventive” is used more here in the U.S., so either is correct.

  1. Various different. I saw this recently in something I was proofreading. Unfortunately, both words mean the same thing. Again, according to Dictionary.com, “various” means: “of different kinds, as two or more things; differing one from another” while one of the definitions of “different” is: “various; several.” So in this case, pick one. Use either “various” or “different,” but not both of them together.
  1. Coming down the pipe or pike? This question was raised to me recently. It looks like “coming down the pike” is the original idiom from back when the “pike” was shortened from “turnpike.” However, “coming down the pipe” is gaining in popularity, because lots of things come down a pipe. Since “turnpikes” have fallen out of common language in favor of “freeway,” more people understand “pipe.” So the more common version in today’s lingo is “coming down the pipe.”
  1. Postliminary. I had this word come up in something I was proofreading recently. Since I hadn’t heard that word before, I looked it up. Merriam-Webster defines it as: done or carried on after something else or as a conclusion; subsequent —opposed to preliminary. While I’m not sure it is a great replacement for “after,” I kind of like it. So you will have preliminary, main, and postliminary.
  1. Thank-you. I’ve seen this word hyphenated before and just thought, without a doubt, that it was wrong. Someone told me recently it is correct. Apparently, it IS correct. Merriam-Webster online defines “thank-you” as “a polite expression of one’s gratitude.” Grammar Girl even says “thank-you” can be used as a noun or an adjective. However, when I search for “thank-you” on Google, the vast majority of the returns are not hyphenated. I believe I’ll stick with the unhyphenated version.
  1. Myriad of. “Myriad” is defined by Dictionary.com as “a very great or indefinitely great number of persons or things.” People say that since “myriad” originally meant 10,000 and you wouldn’t say “a 10,000 of trees,” that saying “a myriad of” is incorrect. However, common practice is to use “myriad” as both a noun and as a adjective, so it is becoming more commonplace to say “a myriad of.” Personally, I prefer “myriad” all by its little lonely self, and have corrected it myriad times (see what I did there?). But if the author insists, “a myriad of” is not incorrect.

Well that’s my list of petty annoyances that I’ve been keeping lately. Do you have any petty annoyances you’d like to share? Email those to me at proofthatblog@gmail.com.

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

Elicit – to draw forth

  • He was trying to elicit a confession from his son.

Illicit – Unlawful

  • Stealing a car is an illicit act.

Tips to help remember:

Illicit – Illegal

Elicit – think of the legs of the “e” as trying to pull something out of the “back” of the “e”

Confusing Words of the Week

Words of the WeekIt’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

A friend asked about some confusion over two words. Here they are as this week’s words:

  • inquire – ask for information from someone; investigate; look into.
  • enquire – ask for information from someone; investigate; look into.

Yes, they are the same. Traditionally, “enquire” meant to ask, while “inquire” was used for more formal investigation. In the UK, either word is appropriate, but “inquire” is most common. Here in the US, “inquire” is the preferred word.

So you would be correct to use “inquire” in the US when you are asking for information or investigating something, although “enquire” is not incorrect. And the same would be true in the UK.

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing WoWords of the Weekrds of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

Respectably – in a manner worthy of respect

The young boy received an award for acting respectably.

Respectfully – in a courteous manner

While being introduced to the baseball player, the girl acted respectfully and received an autographed baseball in return.

Respectively – in the order indicated

Jane and Joe finished the race at 5:34 and 6:46, respectively.

MEMORY TIPS:

RespectAbly – mAnner worth of respect

RespectFULLy – FULL of respect.

RespectIvely – in the Indicated order

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

rain – falling water.

The rain was pouring down.

rein – (n.) part of a bridle; (v.) to check; to stop.

It was time to rein in the committee members who had launched off onto a different topic.

reign – (n.) the term of a ruler’s power; a period during which power is exercised; (v.) to rule.

The reign of the chapter president is over.

Some hints to help remember are that to stop something–like a horse–is to rein them in (like the horse’s rein) while reign looks pretty royal to me with the silent “g.”

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

Interstate – Between states

Intrastate – Within one state

Intestate – Dying without a will

TIPS:

Interstate is between states, so you are entering (inter) different states as you travel through, while intrAstate is in the same state so you’re not entering other states, you are staying “In” the sAme state. Intestate means that it is going INto probate because there is no will.

Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

their – belonging to them. Their car was the red Lexus. (The red Lexus belonged to them.)

there – in that place. He placed his books there on that table. (He placed his books in that place.)

they’re – contraction of “they are.” They’re planning to go to the event on Saturday. (They are planning to go to the event on Saturday.)

Lots of people struggle with these.  If you can replace the word with “they are,” use they’re. If not, then it is either there or their. Does it belong to someone? Then use “their.” If it doesn’t belong to anyone and they are doesn’t make sense in its place, then it is probably “there.” Check it by asking if there is something in that place when you are putting it there.