Verb Mistakes #4: Loathe

Loathe is a verb. Loath (also spelled loth) is an adjective.

Loathe means to hate. Loath means reluctant or unwilling.

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Sentence Adverbs

Not all adverbs end in -ly, but many do.

Like all adverbs, -ly adverbs are used to add meaning to verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

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Work of Art Titles

When a freelance magazine writer asked me how the title of a sculpture should be written, I went to The Chicago Manual of Style to find out if it should be italicized, enclosed in quotation marks, or left plain.

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Passionate and Impassioned

A reader wonders about the words passionate and impassioned: Do they mean the same thing? If not, when should you use one and not the other?

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Inning, Innings, and the Seventh-Inning Stretch

In the games of baseball and cricket, opposing teams take turns batting a ball.

A baseball game is divided into nine innings during which each team has a turn at bat. Each half of an inning ends with the third out. (An out occurs when a player strikes out or is tagged between bases.)

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Beautyism and Friends

It’s not in my two main dictionaries yet, but beautyism has found a place in the catalogue of English words ending in -ism.

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Waxing and Waning

The most familiar use of the verbs wax and wane is in reference to the states of the moon.

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Picking Nits, Not Nicks

Apparently some modern speakers are happily unacquainted with head lice. This lack of knowledge may explain the confusion illustrated by the following examples.

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Verb Mistakes #4: Hoping If

A sales letter from a company that produces an “educational keyboarding program” brought a peculiar clause construction to my attention.

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Crusade

The word crusade, used as both noun and verb, derives from a Latin verb meaning “to mark with a cross.” Middle English adopted the Old French form, croisee. When the OF spelling shifted to croisade, English speakers started spelling it that way too. Finally, in the 18th century, the spelling was Anglicized to crusade.

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Kin Words

The other night a local television anchorman, not noted for a large or literary vocabulary, surprised me with the following.

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