Conjunctions: It’s All About Joining

“Conjunction.” One of my favorite words. As most of remember from grammar or primary school, a conjunction is a word that connects parts of a sentence. However, did you know there are several different types of conjunctions? The original type of conjunction that we were all taught is called a “coordinating conjunction”: and, but, or,...

Pique, Peek, or Peak?

The word “pique” comes from the French and means to “excite”, as in to “pique one’s interest” [in something]. Use “peek” when sneaking a look at something. When you arrive at the “peak” of something, you are at the top or uppermost point. Still confused by the meanings of similar words in the English language?...

Affect or Effect?

Affect and effect are two of the most-often confused words in the English language. The simple rule is: * affect spelled with an “a” is usually a verb that shows some kind of action. The simple definition of affect is “to influence” or “to make happen”. How will eating chocolate cake for every meal affect...

Daily Grammar Tip: cowered vs coward

The verb “cower” means to crouch down in fear, and “cowered” is the past tense of cower. A “coward” is a fearful or weak person; the word is a noun. Therefore, cowered (with a Nordic root) and coward (with a French root) may sound similar, and they may even have similar connotations, but they are different and...

Happy Spring! Is it an equinox or a solstice?

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.   “equinox”: there are two sets of days of the...

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)...

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...

orient vs orientate

“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...

glimpse or glance?

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.  ...

hairbrained or harebrained?

Many people use the more common “hairbrained”, but the correct and original spelling is “harebrained”, meaning a “silly rabbit”. Contact the writing and editing professionals at Writing It Right For You for assistance with your grammar questions!

Its or It’s

I posted this a while ago but I felt like it needed to be posted again as I still see so many people making this error. So, these two terms are relatively simple to use.  Proper placement is EVERYTHING here. Of course, the definition is most important.  To define each of these equally confusing terms,...

Etymology: Camouflage

etymology: the study of word origins Use of the word camouflage originated in Paris in the late 19th century. It is a combination of the Italian word camuffare, which means “to disguise”, and the French word camouflet, which means “a puff of smoke”. Back in ol’ Par-ee in the 1870s, thieves would put an attractive woman in a...

Figuratively, literally!

“Literally” literally means exactly and according to the strictest sense of the word. “Figuratively” literally means as a figure of speech or in a descriptive yet metaphorically sense of the word. When you use the word “literally”, you are giving an exact description: if someone is literally six feet tall, the person is not 5’11”...

Etymology: monologue or soliloquy?

Etymology: the study of word origins.   monologue is of Greek origin and soliloquy is of Latin origin, both words are defined as “single speech”. Today, a monologue is considered to be a speech given by one person in the company of others, while a soliloquy is given by a person who forgets or doesn’t realize that others are...

Etymology: “awkward”

Etymology means “the study of word origins”. “Awk” is an obsolete word meaning “turning the wrong way”. “Awkward” originally meant “in an awk direction”, just like forward means in a front (fore) direction and backward means in a back direction. If the professionals at Writing It Right For You can help you to navigate awkward...