Every Other

Clarity of expression is the writer’s goal, but what is clear to the writer may not always be clear to the reader. Ambiguity is the enemy of clarity.

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Confident vs. Confidant

A reader declares: One of the grammatical errors I’m seeing more and more is confusion between “confident” and “confidant(e)” Could you cover that?

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Amble vs. Ample

I came across this comment in a review on the Amazon site: I am too stocked up on my own books to be able to accept any books for review at this time as I’d wanted to give amble time reading if I accepted them for an honest review.

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There’s A Style Guide for That

Authors who specialize in one field of knowledge are sometimes unaware of style guides used in other areas. In writing for DWT, I mostly rely on these three style guides…

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Epidemic vs. Pandemic vs. Endemic

The dreadful outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has made headlines like these a daily sight in newspapers and on news sites all over the world.

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A Useful Reminder About ‘An’

English has two forms of the indefinite article: a and an. In modern usage, the form a is used in front of words that begin with a consonant sound; an is used in front of words that begin with a vowel sound.

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Driver License vs. Driver’s License

A reader questions the use of the possessive in such constructions as “doctor’s appointment” and “driver’s license”: If I take out my state-granted proof of authority to drive an automobile in Oklahoma, the title on that wallet-sized document is “Driver License,” not “Driver’s License.”

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For Sale vs. On Sale

A reader asks: When do you use the expression “for sell” instead of “for sale”?

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Ever Since and Every Sense of the Word

Many misspellings are the result of mispronunciation. The first time I saw the expression “ever since” written as “ever sense,” I assumed that it had been written by the speaker of a regional dialect. For example, where I live, it’s often impossible to tell if someone is asking to borrow a pen or a pin.

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Person vs. Persona

A reader asks for “some analysis between person and persona.” Both words derive from an ancient Latin word that originally referred to the theatrical mask worn by an actor. In time, the word came to refer to the character played by the actor wearing the mask. The characters in a play are still referred to as “dramatis personae,” (“persons of a drama”).

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A Cause for Concern

It’s a cause for concern that many professional journalists and consultants of various kinds are muddling the idioms “a cause for concern” and “gives one pause” to create the meaningless hybrid “a pause for concern.”

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Corroboratively vs. Collaboratively

A reader has brought my attention to an odd use of the word corroboratively in a job description for a communications specialist position: Work corroboratively as a member of an integrated contractor team…

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