Confusing Words of the Week

It’s time for our new feature called “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 proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words:

Ensure – to make certain

  • He wanted to ensure that the staff was all trained on Microsoft Word.

Insure – To protect against loss

  • She wanted to insure her car before she drove it anywhere.

Assure – to give confidence to someone

  • Jack assured Jane that she could handle the job.

A tip to help remember the difference is that insurance is a policy you buy to protect against loss, so if it is something you are protecting, it is insure.

 

Grammar Giggle – Vacuum

My news station is keeping me in lots of material this week. Here is the headline for a story about the Roomba Vacuum. And that’s as in ONE “c,” not two. #azfamily #proofread #grammargiggle #proofthat

Proofreading Your Own Work

Proofreading your own workProofreading your own work is one of the hardest jobs you have. You know what it is supposed to say, so that’s what your brain reads. If you are trying to proofread your own work, here are some tips:

  • Take a break or just walk away for a few minutes. Refocusing your brain could make a difference in reading what the document actually says.
  • Print it out and read it in hard copy. Sometimes looking at something in a different way can help you actually see any errors. If you’ve been reading it on the computer, print it out and read the hard copy. If you’ve been reading it on paper, read it on the computer.
  • If it is something really important and you’re worried that you’ll miss something, ask someone else to read it for you.
  • Read it out loud. Sometimes hearing the words are easier than reading them.
  • Go to a quiet area if possible. Close your door, go into an empty office, or if possible, go downstairs in the fresh air. It is important to get away from emails, visitors, phone calls, and other interruptions.
  • Read it in parts and scramble them up. Read the first paragraph, then the third, then the fifth, etc. until the end of the document, then go up and read the second, then the fourth, etc. This will definitely not help you proof for consistency in the document, but it will help you find words that are wrong or misspelled.
  • Read for consistency. If terms have been defined and capitalized, make sure they are capitalized throughout using the appropriate defined term.

Most of all, keep learning. One good way is to read everything—newspapers, books, magazines. While there are lots of errors in those publications, there are also lots of good grammar usage. Another way is find websites and blogs that teach grammar and proofreading. Here are some of my recommendations—Proofreading Resources.

You should definitely proofread your work before you pass it on to the next person. Their job may well be to edit your work, but that doesn’t mean that their job is to clean it all up. You will impress them as a writer if they don’t have to correct obvious mistakes in your work. Take the time to prove that you are a good writer and know what you’re doing.

If you have tips for proofreading your own work, please share them in the comments below.

 

Confusing Words of the Week

Words of the WeekIt’s time for our new feature called “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 proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words:

peak – the top. The peak of the mountain was covered with clouds.

peek – to look slyly at. He tried to peek at the cute girl in the corner. Just think about the double “e” as eyes. You’re looking at something with those eyes.

pique – resentment; to offend; to arouse. Jane piqued Sally’s interest in the movie coming out this week by telling her the back story.

piqué – cotton fabric.

Grammar Giggle – Stake Your Steak

I saw this one in a Facebook ad. “Steak” is food and “stake” is a rod in the ground to support something.

Steak

 

Grammar Giggles – Hiring Mangers

My sister took this picture in the window of a WalMart hair salon. She wonders if they are already hiring for Christmas? She also thinks that a dollar sign wouldn’t be amiss.

Hiring Mangers

Confusing Words of the Week

I’m going to start a new feature called “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, let me know and they may appear here soon!

 

Words of the WeekThis week’s confusing words are accept and except:

 

accept is to take or receive. He was ready to accept his new job duties. (He was ready to receive his new job duties.)

except is to exclude. He was ready for the new job duties except typing daily reports. (He was ready for all of his job duties excluding typing daily reports.)

The easiest way to remember which one to use is the EXcept is to EXclude. So if you want to EXclude something, you would say EXcept as in the following example:

I like all flavors of Life Savers EXCEPT lime.

That means if you take all of the flavors of Life Savers and exclude the lime ones, those are what I like.

If you are not going to EXclude something, you will accept it.

Grammar Giggle – At Least They Tired

My trusty news station comes through again. Tires/tries . . . unfortunately they don’t mean the same thing even though they share letters IN A DIFFERENT ORDER! Spell check won’t help here.

Tires2