8 June 2012
Misused words and words that aren't words at all have been covered previously on this blog. Today, we’ll dive into some common expressions and discover if one word or two should be used.
- After All/Afterall – In this case, only “after all” is correct. It makes sense that “afterall” would pop up from time to time though. We’re all busy and looking for ways to simplify our lives, shortening words and combining them. In this case, however, we should stick with “after all.”
- All Right/Alright – This pairing is a bit more complicated than the previous one. Traditionally, “all right” is the correct usage and “alright” is incorrect, but as we mentioned in a previous blog post , the English language is constantly evolving, and “alright” is slowly gaining acceptance for everyday use.
- Every Day/Everyday – Speaking of “everyday,” we bring you our third pairing. In this case, both are words but have different meanings. Many people mistakenly write “everyday” when they really mean “every day.” This sentence gives us the correct usage for both: Jane likes to eat oatmeal for breakfast every day; it has become an important part of her everyday routine.
- Any One/Anyone – Here, we have another example where both are correct, illustrated as follows: Any one of the three of us could be chosen to lead the team, but I don’t know why anyone would select me.
There are many other examples like those listed above, but we’ll explore them in a future blog post.
31 May 2012
The English language is always evolving. For proof of this, all we need to do is look back at the prose of William Shakespeare. People certainly don’t say things like “The apparel oft proclaims the man,” these days, and if they did, they’d probably be the recipient of more than a few strange looks.
In our highly technological society, language continues to evolve even today. It’s graduation season, and the way we refer to the act of graduating seems to be in a state of flux. As Grammar Girl notes in her blog, recent history has given us three ways to say it. In the early 1900s, it was common for one to say “he was graduated from college.” By the middle of the last century, the saying morphed into “he graduated from college.” In the past few years, the statement has become more simplified still, and many people often say “he graduated college.” For more on this subject, check out Grammar Girl’s insightful blog post.
Not only are we omitting words where we feel that they are no longer needed, but we’re also making up new words that we feel do a better job of capturing what we want to say. A popular example these days is the “word” melty. If you search in any dictionary, you won’t find melty anywhere, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of popular fast food chains from using it in their ad campaigns with abandon. The thought must have been that “melty cheese” sounds so much better than “melted cheese.” It may not be a real word today, but it likely won’t take long for it to make its way into dictionaries with its frequent appearance in our everyday lives.
The evolution of language could be seen as positive or negative, but it seems to be a necessity as we progress as a society. We’re always looking for faster, better ways of living our lives, so why should language be left out of the mix?
29 August 2011
Let’s face it; the English language can be more than a little wacky at times. A word can look exactly the same as another word, but be pronounced differently and have a different meaning. For example, you might say “I read the entire book my instructor assigned in class this week, but I heard that there were many people who didn’t take the time to read it.” Then there are those pesky words that seem interchangeable but definitely aren’t. Check out some of the examples below.
- They’re, There and Their. This trio is quite possibly the most-often confused of all, but they don’t have to cause you to scratch your head in frustration. They're is a combination of they and are, as in “They’re planning to meet after graduation for dinner.” There can be used either as an adverb (She is planning to go there tomorrow) or a pronoun (There is nothing we can do about it). Finally, their shows possession, as in “I was invited to a party at their house.”
- To , Too and Two. The word to can be used either as a preposition (We came to their new home; they had moved from a small apartment to a house) or as an adverb (When she came to, she couldn’t remember anything that had happened). Too is an adverb meaning in addition to or also, as in, “I wanted to attend the conference too” or “I, too, thought she was an excellent candidate.” Finally, two is the spelling for the number 2, as in “There were two of us in the office when I arrived.”
- Lose and Loose. Lose is a verb. For example, “I’m always worried I will lose my car keys” or “I have always struggled to lose weight.” The word loose can be used as an adverb (The rope was tied loosely around her waist), or a verb (After I lost weight, my pants were definitely loose).
If there are other words that stump you, or you need general writing help for your class, check out the Tutoring Center in the Campus Common.