Category Archive: Academic Writing

Mar 20

Happy Spring! Is it an equinox or a solstice?

Question Person

Happy Spring Equinox! It’s the official first day of spring, FINALLY!

We are re-publishing this post to celebrate the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Here is another word pair that is often misused or misunderstood. Both words define the annual path of the Sun.


Revolving earth at winter solstice on the nort...

Revolving earth at winter solstice on the northern hemisphere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“equinox”: there are two sets of days of the year when the Sun crosses the equator and the length of the day and the night are equal (hence, “equinox”). The vernal equinox is in the spring about March 20-21, and the autumnal equinox occurs in the fall (autumn) around September 22-23. These dates are for the northern hemisphere, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes are reversed in the southern hemisphere. The word “equinox” comes from the Latin equinoxium, which translates to “equality between day and night”.

“solstice”: the solstice also occurs twice a year–once when the Sun is at its northernmost point (at the Tropic of Cancer) and again when the Sun is at its southernmost point (at the Tropic of Capricorn). The summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere occurs about June 21-22. The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere occurs about December 21. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium which translates to “sun standing still”. During each solstice, it seems as if the Sun is standing still.

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Leave us any questions you have about confusing word pairs in the comments section!



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Feb 01

similar to/different from


Disclaimer: You know that I am an English teacher, don’t you? Welcome to your English lesson for today: how to correctly use these two common phrases.

Recently I have heard these prepositional phrases used incorrectly. What is a prepositional phrase, you ask? That question has a simple answer: it is a phrase (an incomplete sentence) that includes a preposition (words that show a spatial relationship–especially those that show direction).

When I taught elementary school, my favorite way to teach prepositional phrases was to have my students sing that classic Thanksgiving song: “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…”

The words “to” and “from” are prepositions, so the phrases “similar to” and “different from” are prepositional phrases, but it is important to use the correct prepositions to use with the adjectives (descriptive modifiers of nouns).

There is a commercial currently running about dentures adhesive where the actress playing a dentist says: “…dentures are very different to real teeth.” Yikes! She should be saying “different from real teeth.

The word “similar” means almost alike, so one noun in the comparison is actually coming towards (or to) the other noun. The word “different” means not alike, so one noun is actually moving away (or from) the other noun in the comparison.

Please be grammatically correct and when comparing two nouns, say either “similar to” or “different from”. You will sound and be so smart!

Class dismissed!

If you have a project that would be improved with the assistant of the English experts at Writing It Right For You, contact us ( and we’ll be glad to help!

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Jan 27

Scrivener is the #1 App for All of my Writing Projects


I am a writer. I am an editor. I am a manuscript preparer and an eBook publisher. I am a social media marketing and branding consultant. For all of those roles that I manage for my three businesses, I do a lot of writing. I write on my MacBook Air from my home office and my MacBook Pro from my Midtown Detroit office. Away from my offices, I write my iPad2 and iPad Mini.

When I write short, often internal documents, I use Google Docs and Google Drive. Most of my clients send me documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the global gold standard contained in the Microsoft Office Suite; I use those programs in Office for Mac 2011, which integrates (almost) perfectly with the PC/Windows version. Sometimes I use Pages, Keynote, and Numbers in the Apple iWorks Office Suite, mostly because the apps are fun to use (and now free in iOS). For now however, for the majority of my original writing and editing I do for myself and for my clients, I use Scrivener, the popular application designed especially for writers.

Scrivener is not a “word processor”, it is a writing tool. What is the difference? Scrivener was designed just for writers, who are, for the most part, right-brained “creatives”. Scrivener includes several features that allow writers to plan, organize, view, edit, and write in whatever structure they are most comfortable. Completed Scrivener projects can be exported in many formats, including for eBooks.

MacBook Pro Available in 15.4- and 17-inch dia...

MacBook Pro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I use Scrivener to write my blog posts, my articles, my eBooks and books, my courses, my marketing materials, and my podcast scripts.

In a future post of my “Apps I Use” series, I will give you a more complete narrative of the app and how I use it for my businesses, but right now I have several client projects to finish. All of them have been uploaded to my Scrivener account, which I can access on both of my MacBooks.

This is going to be fun. If you need the assistance of the professional writers and editors at Writing It Right For You, contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

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Sep 27

orient vs orientate

20130728-194957.jpg“Orient” and “orientate” are both verbs that mean “to position yourself” in a particular situation or environment. “Orient” as a noun refers to countries in the eastern hemisphere, particularly Asian countries, and the original meaning of the verb orient was to position yourself facing the east towards the rising sun.

In today’s common meaning of the verb orient, you can use either orient or orientate as they both mean the same thing. It is really personal preference, although our friends across the pond in the UK prefer “orientate”, while we here in the US prefer “orient”.

The writing and editing professionals at Writing It Right For You are always ready to assist you with your academic and business communication projects. Contact us any time!


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Sep 22

glimpse or glance?

Baby (12-18 Months)Here is another noun-verb word pair that can sometimes be confusing. The word “glimpse” is a noun that describes the act of seeing something quickly. A “glance” is an action verb that refers to taking a fast look at something.

You glance over your shoulder to get a glimpse of the commotion behind you.




  • glimpse: noun
  • glance: verb


If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, contact the professionals at Writing It Right For You.

We’re here to help because “It Matters How You Say It”!

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