To Err is Human

If you are an American speaker, you probably pronounce the word err to rhyme with air.

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  • Maeve Maddox on
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Pleaded vs. Pled

A reader asks to know the past tense and past participle of the verb “to plead”: I have heard “pled” being used. Is this correct?

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Both vs. Neither

The use of both where neither would be clearer and more idiomatic is fairly common, but inherently ambiguous.

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Verb Review #2: Linking Verbs

Linking verbs, also called “copulative verbs,” “being verbs,” and “state of being verbs,” do not describe an action. This type of verb links a subject and the noun, pronoun or adjective that restates it or describes it.

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Inculcate

Judging by the Google Ngram Viewer, the verb inculcate has declined considerably in popularity in recent decades. So, apparently, has understanding of its meaning.

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At the End of the Day

A reader has asked me to “shed some light” on the expression “at the end of the day”: I know it means “after everything has been taken into consideration” and it is an integral part of our everyday vocabulary but some of my colleagues seem to find it inappropriate in its function. Could you please help me understand this better?

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  • Maeve Maddox on
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Patron and Patronize

Someone in my Facebook feed posted this about an aging celebrity who has recently published a book: “Don’t buy her books and don’t patron her movies.”

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Eyeteeth

In this morning’s paper, I read the following in a guest column written by a recent college graduate: I [won’t] deny knowing people who skipped college and ended up with the sorts of careers most grads would cut their eyeteeth for.

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Freelance Writing Course – Autumn 2014

Twice a year we open the enrollment for our Freelance Writing Course. The course is a 6-week program aimed at people who want to get started making money freelance writing online. You’ll get in-depth lessons on everything you need to know, including the tools and trade and the resources you can use to make your life as a freelance writer easier.

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  • Daniel Scocco on
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Confused Words #3: Lose, Loose, Loss

Written errors in the use of lose, loose, and loss are common. One error is to write the adjective loose (rhymes with moose) as if it were the verb lose (rhymes with booze).

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  • Maeve Maddox on
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Allegedly

A reader who edits financial news has observed that some writers seem to be unaware of the specific connotation of allegedly and gives this example.

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