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 Ask PTB or send an email to and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

Cite (v) – to quote; to summon

Sight – a view; vision

Site – a place

Tips to help you remember the difference:

Cite is related to citation. It is quoting case material.

Sight is seeing with your eyes

Site is a place. Let’s say IT is a place.

Grammar Giggle – Dutchess

My local news had a little bit of trouble spelling “Duchess.” A Duchess is the female equivalent if a Duke. Dutchess could possibly be a woman from the Netherlands, but is not a word that appears in a dictionary. The Duchess of Cambridge is a well-known figure and the headline is obviously incorrect.


Grammar Giggle – Sing Me Up For That!

Once again, my news channel comes through for me in the latest Grammar Giggle. This is proof that spell check is not all that you need to have quality work. You actually need to READ what you’ve written–in context–to make sure it is correct. “Sign” and “sing” all share the same letters, but mean completely different things.

Sing me up

Grammar Giggle -Dear Server, Please Purchase A Gift Certificate

I caught this on a recent dinner out during a weekend with friends. I think the comma is unnecessary–it should be a period–and the wording at the end is confusing. Taken literally, I am encouraged to ask my server to purchase a gift certificate. So I would say “Dear Server, please purchase me a gift certificate” and the server would purchase a gift certificate and give it to me for future use. Perhaps it should say “Ask your server about purchasing one.”

Gift certs

Grammar Giggle – Email Template

This was in an article that I found while researching how to auto reply to external messages only. Try as I might, I’m afraid I would think much less of a person from whom I received this out of office message. ALWAYS proofread your out of office messages. It is your message to the world. Make it a good one. 

Grammar Giggles – He Was Choosen

I found this in a full-page ad for the well-known recipient of a professional award. Having done some marketing, I know how expensive full-page ads in these kinds of publications are, and it is really a shame that this kind of error is there. This is the exact reason publishers send proofs and ask for signatures approving those proofs. That makes it YOUR mistake–not the publisher’s, which means you pay for it regardless of the mistake.