A friend recently rode in an Uber that had this on the back of the seat in front of him for his use. While I appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into making your passengers comfortable during their ride, the wrong word was used. They are confusing, so we’re going to explore the differences:
Complement: something that fills up, completes, or makes better or perfect.
Her shoes were the perfect complement to her dress.
Compliment: an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration
He appreciated the compliment on his new haircut.
Complementary: serving to fill out or complete
The pink shoes were complementary to her whole outfit.
Complimentary: given free as a courtesy or favor.
The wine was complimentary with a spa service.
In this example, the use of the charger was free and while I suppose it could complete or make better a day going bad because your phone was dead, I think the intent was that charging was free while you were in the Uber vehicle.
A reader sent this one to me. It took some researching for me to confirm that the warm water would “envelop” your body. Here is the Merriam Webster online dictionary definition of “envelop” and “envelope”
Envelop – transitive verb
1: to enclose or enfold completely with or as if with a covering
Envelope – noun
2: something that envelops: WRAPPER
the envelope of air around the earth
A transitive verb is defined as “a verb that requires a direct object, which is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that follows the verb and completes the sentence’s meaning by indicating the person or thing that receives the action of the verb.”
In this example, you are talking about the action the water takes on your body (direct object, which is a noun). Envelop is the correct word here because it will “enclose or enfold completely with or as if with a covering.”
With all the recent and upcoming activity in our nation’s capital, it’s important that if you’re commenting on it, it is spelled correctly. Here is the breakdown:
According to The Gregg Reference Manual, the word “capital” used as an adjective can mean “chief” or “foremost” or “punishable by death” (as in a capital crime). As a noun, it can mean “a principal sum of money” or can designate between large and lowercase letters (as capital A and lowercase a). Capital also means “the city that serves as the seat of a country’s government” (Washington, D.C. is this nation’s capital).
The word “capitol” refers to the building in which a state legislative body meets and the capitalized word “Capitol” refers to the building in which the United States Congress meets.
Capitol Hill is an imaginative name for the legislative branch of the U.S. government (Congress) and refers to the site of the Capitol.
An easy way to remember it might be that capitOl refers to a building (think of the Capitol building and its circular dOme so the “o” looks like the dome) where legislative bodies meet and you capitalize it where United States Congress meets.
I’ve seen this error before and I think have even posted a previous Grammar Giggle with this same issue, but this was in my local Facebook Marketplace recently. It should be WROUGHT iron–which is one of two types of iron, the other being cast iron.
It’s time for “Confusing Words of the Month” 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 email@example.com and they may appear here soon!
This month’s words are:
flaunt – to display showily
He was trying to flaunt his new sportscar to his friends.
flout – to treat with contempt
Because she didn’t like the school principal, she decided to flout his rules.
flaunt – Think of laun as launch because they want to launch their possessions out as far and as high as possible so everyone can see them flaunt it.
flout – Use the out piece of the word to remember they are treating the thing like they want it out of their life.
I saw this one while I was waiting for the next round of a game on my phone this weekend. I am usually annoyed by these things, but I wanted to capture a picture of this one because I have made that error before (and wrote about it here)
It’s time for “PTB Confusing Words” 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and they may appear here soon!
This week’s words are:
pedal – (adj.) pertaining to the foot; (n.) a treadle (as in to step on the pedal)
She almost got in an accident until she slammed on her brake pedal.
peddle – to hawk; to sell
The woman on the corner looked like it was her job to peddle all the roses and giant teddy bears for Mother’s Day.
pedal – “PED” is foot and a pedal takes you A Long way to all the places
peddle – think of the double letter and the definition–“sell” has two “l’s” and “peddle” has two “d’s”
I captured this on one of my websites. It just didn’t look right. Research shows that according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “set up” is a verb meaning “to put (a machine) in readiness or adjustment for an operation.” The noun “setup” means “the preparation and adjustment of machines for an assigned task.”
In this example, “Website Analytics is not setup” is incorrect. You are talking about the action (verb) of putting your machine in readiness for an operation.
The second example “Setup Website Analytics” is also incorrect because it is also a verb showing the action of putting your machine in readiness for an operation–in this case Website Analytics. I think the only case where “setup” would be correct with the subject Website Analytics is if you were to say “Website Analytics Setup” (the preparation and adjustment of machines for an assigned task–in this case, Website Analytics) with instructions for the actual set up process.
It is definitely confusing, but if you are actually setting something up–like a computer program or app–it is “set up.”