Earlier this year, the Merriam-Webster website, which, along with its paper-and-ink version, is notorious for its laissez-faire approach to word usage, expressed an intriguing argument in one of its Usage Notes: Chill out about preserving the “original” meaning of words.
Colons frequently crop up as transitional punctuation preceding a quotation, but that particular punctuation mark is usually not a good choice, as explained in the discussions that follow the sentences below; a revision follows each discussion.
All but one of the following sentences incorrectly establishes a relationship between two things with a setup of “not only” followed by a faultily constructed counterpoint; revise sentences as necessary to achieve parallel construction.
This post outlines the use of abbreviation to refer to geographical locations and other references to location. Note that in general, such references should be spelled out; abbreviation is usually reserved for when space is limited.
This post outlines major conventions regarding the use of initials and abbreviations in association with people’s names.
In a reference to the amount of medication provided to an outpatient, I read “three days’ supply for acute or chronic noncancer pain; seven days for cancer pain or palliative care.” Should days be singular in this expression, or plural?
The word quarter has numerous senses as a noun, verb, and adjective, is the basis of several words beginning with quarter, and shares an origin with quart.
What’s the difference between an emigrant and an immigrant, and where do migrants fit in? The answer, for both questions, is that it’s a matter of direction.
All but one of the following sentences demonstrate incorrect style for numbers according to The Chicago Manual of Style; revise the style of the number as necessary.
When should phrases of more than two words be hyphenated, and when should the constituent words stand on their own? The following sentences, and the discussions and revisions that follow each, illustrate the rules pertaining to hyphenation of phrases.
This post outlines basic rules about abbreviations. There is a bewildering variety of standards, which will be explained in more detail in subsequent posts about specific categories of abbreviation, but the following guidelines cover an array of general types.
Like is one of the most versatile of words, with senses encompassing multiple parts of speech. Here’s a review of its various meanings and uses.