Category Archive: English Language Usage

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.

If you would like to work with the expert writing and editing team at Writing It Right For You, contact us! We’ll make sure that your writing is never confusing!

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

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2014/03/20/is-it-an-equinox-or-a-solstice/

Feb 01

similar to/different from

20140201-152317.jpg

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 (http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/contact-us-2) and we’ll be glad to help!

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2014/02/01/similar-todifferent-from/

Dec 13

AM / PM

20130728-194957.jpg“AM” stands for Ante Meridiem, it’s a Latin phrase that means “before noon,” and “PM” Post Meridiem means “after noon.” You should avoid the expression “12:00 PM” to designate noon,  not only because it is incorrect, but because it can be confused with midnight . The same goes for “12:00 AM.” The correct will be “twelve noon” when you want to designate a precise time.

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

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

Visit Common Errors in English for more tips like this.

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2013/12/13/am-pm/

Dec 12

Tripple / Triple

Te correct word is “triple,” without double P. Don’t be confused with the verb “tipple”, which means drinking alcohol.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, Contact the

20130728-194957.jpg

professionals at Writing It Right For You.

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

Visit Common Errors in English for more tips like this.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2013/12/12/tripple-triple/

Dec 11

These are them / These are they

Most people won’t complain about either one, but if you want to stay on the good side of the grammar, you should use “these are they.” This is because the pronoun after the verb should be in the same grammatical form as the subject. “They” is the subject pronoun, while “them” is an object pronoun, so you should opt for “these are they” instead of “these are them”.

If you need writing or editing assistance with the very confusing English language rules, Contact the

20130728-194957.jpg

professionals at Writing It Right For You.

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

Visit Common Errors in English for more tips like this.

Permanent link to this article: http://writingitrightforyou.com/home/2013/12/11/these-are-them-these-are-they/

Older posts «