Grammar Giggle – Let’s Be Sat

I saw this on a recent winery tour. The correct word should be “seated.” “Sit” (and its past tense version, “sat”) means “to be in a position of rest.” “Seated” means “arrange for someone to sit somewhere,” which is what the Hostess would do once you check in with them.

Grammar Giggle – Trash Shoots

This was in a story that was in my Facebook feed recently. I’m sure the word they meant to use was “chutes,” which, according to Dictionary.com, means “an inclined channel, as a trough, tube, or shaft, for conveying water, grain, coal, etc., to a lower level.” On the other hand, “shoots” means “to hit, wound, damage, kill, or destroy with a missile discharged from a weapon.” There is another definition of “shoots” that could fit ( “to send forth missiles from a bow, firearm, or the like”). However, that definition, while it might be way more fun, seems like it would leave a big mess if you did it with trash.

Grammar Giggle – Squealing Breaks

This was a local news station “breaking news” alert.

According to dictionary.com, here are the differences:

  • Breaks means to smash, split, or divide into parts violently; reduce to pieces or fragments
  • Brakes are a device for slowing or stopping a vehicle or other moving mechanism by the absorption or transfer of the energy of momentum, usually by means of friction and the drums, shoes, tubes, levers, etc., making up such a device on a vehicle.

Grammar Giggle – Complimentary Complements

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.

Grammar Giggle – Envelop/Envelope

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.”

Capitol or Capital?

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.

CapitAl means All the other uses of “capital.”

Photo by Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash


Grammar Giggle – Rod Iron

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.

Grammar Giggle – Restaurant Costumers

This was in a local news story. It is even more concerning to me because they got it right in one place, but wrong the first time it is used. Just for clarification:

  • Costumer – a person or company that makes or supplies theatrical or fancy-dress costumes
  • Customer – a person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business

Grammar Giggle – Advise On Giving Advice

A friend shared this with me from a webinar she attended. This word is confused a lot. Here are the definitions:

  • Advice – information; recommendation. The advice of the lawyer was to pay the fine.
  • Advise – to recommend; to give counsel. The lawyer advised her to gather all her documentation.