All About the Ellipsis

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An ELLIPSIS is a punctuation mark with basically one function: it signals to the reader that the writer has left something out. The ellipsis indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning. For example, Longfellow wrote,“Listen, my children, and you shall hear,Of the midnight […]

Using WHETHER and IF

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A basic guideline is to use IF when you have a conditional sentence and WHETHER when you are showing that two alternatives are possible. Some examples will make this more clear. For example, “The meteorologist didn’t know WHETHER the snowstorm would arrive on Monday or Tuesday.” Because I used “whether,” you know that there are […]


Posted Leave a commentPosted in Word Pairs

BESIDE and BESIDES often get confused. Both are prepositions, but they are used differently. Besides can also be used as an adverb, but beside cannot. Let’s take a look: BESIDE: a preposition used to determine the spatial relationship between two objects. It means “at the side of” or “next to.” For instance, “He sat beside […]

Uninterested and Disinterested

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Is there a difference? Uninterested and disinterested both sound similar because of their prefixes. UN- and DIS- have negative connotations, so it is not unusual to think that uninterested and disinterested are versions of “not interested.” Yet uninterested and disinterested have distinct definitions. Let’s take a look: UNINTERESTED: someone who has no interest in something; unenthusiastic, […]

Homophones & Homographs

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What’s the difference? A HOMOPHONE is a word that SOUNDS the same as another word but differs in meaning, and may differ in spelling. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of “rise”), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too. A […]

Punctuation and Quotation Marks: American Style

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ALWAYS ON THE INSIDE –PERIODS– “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”–COMMAS–“You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” said Brody. ALWAYS ON THE OUTSIDE –COLONS–There are three things I liked best about “The Wizard of Oz”: the singing, the costumes, and the munchkins.–SEMICOLONS–Yesterday, she wanted to binge-watch “Downton Abbey”; today, however, […]

i.e. or e.g.?

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“i.e.” is Latin for “id est,” meaning “that is.”“e.g.” is Latin for “exempli gratia,” meaning “for example.” Use “i.e.” when you want to give further explanation for something.Use “e.g.” when you want to give a few examples but not a complete list. i.e. = (think: “in essence”)e.g = (think: “examples given”) Please follow and like […]


Posted Leave a commentPosted in Word Pairs

STATIONARY: an adjective or adverb, meaning “not moving”, “fixed in one place”, “still.”STATIONERY: a noun, meaning “paper, for letter writing or note-taking” For example, “I use a stationary bike for exercise.” (adj)For example, “The hostages were ordered to remain stationary.” (adv)For example, “The girl received stationery and a special pen for her birthday gift.” Stationary […]

All About the Ampersand

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The origin of the ampersand can be traced back to the Latin word “et,” meaning “and.” The E and the T that make up this word were occasionally written together to form a ligature (a character consisting of two or more joined letters). Writing the word this way saved the writer time, with one letter […]