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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Vocabulary

Patients or Patience: Which Word Do You Need?

Posted on Monday, August 23, 2021, at 6:00 am

There are a lot of similar and confusing words in the English language, and you’ll often find patients and patience among them. In this post, we will look at the difference between the two. Patient and Patients These words create a challenge because patients and patience are homophones. That means they sound the same when …

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A Lot vs. Alot vs. Allot: Which Is Correct?

Posted on Friday, August 20, 2021, at 6:00 am

A lot, alot, and allot: These words are all used often in writing. Some people also consider them to be either interchangeable or the same word with different spellings. In truth, a lot, alot, and allot are not the same. Two of them have separate meanings, and one isn’t even a word at all. For …

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Flier or Flyer: Which Word Is Correct?

Posted on Monday, August 16, 2021, at 6:00 am

You're walking down the street. Someone hands you a piece of paper explaining a community effort. Did that person just give you a flyer, a flier, or something else? Let's answer that. Flyer vs. Flier as a Word Choice In the U.S., a promotional piece of paper using words and pictures to deliver a message …

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Collectible or Collectable: A Matter of Noun vs. Adjective

Posted on Friday, August 13, 2021, at 6:00 am

The chances are good that you have seen (and may even own) some collectibles. At the same time, you probably have other things that were collectable. The real question, though, is whether you know the difference between the two words. If not, today's post should be a big help. Collectible vs. Collectable Let's start by …

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Should You Capitalize “The” Before Country Names?

Posted on Monday, July 5, 2021, at 6:00 am

The decision of whether to capitalize the word "the" in front of a country name can be a tricky one for a couple of reasons. First, you will likely see capitalization used in different ways depending on who is writing and where the writing appears. Second, there isn't one consistent rule you can follow that …

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Why Does the Word Moist Get So Much Hate?

Posted on Monday, June 21, 2021, at 6:00 am

Why do so many people dislike the word “moist”? It's a good question. Even if you are one of those who can't stand the sound of that particular word—and there are many who can't—you might not be able to explain why. In this discussion, we'll consider the issue people have with this much-maligned word, along …

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Sarcastic vs. Facetious: What’s the Difference?

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2021, at 9:00 am

One of the most entertaining facets of communication can also be one of the most frustrating: That's because people don't always mean exactly what they say. We refer not to lies or falsehoods, but to statements that aren't aimed to be accepted or understood by their literal meaning. For example, if a friend tells you …

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The Diversity of American English Dialects

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Americans share a common language, but as in other countries, not all people speak it the same way. The U.S. has its own family of dialects that differ by region within its 3.8 million square miles. People establish a dialect when they live together within set social or geographical boundaries over time. As they use …

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Restoring the Meanings of Misused Words

Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Words give us an array of ways to express what we're thinking or feeling with boldness or nuance. The more we use them in the proper context according to their definitions, the more settled they become in our eloquence. Within American English, some words continue to operate as people wearing another's attire. One can ponder …

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The Dictionary Definition of Racism

Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Just as public support for the Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide protests over police violence are moving Americans toward positive social changes, so too do they reveal an inadequacy in how we have defined racism. We've written frequently about how the meanings of words change over time. The prescriptivists among us tend to hold …

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