Subconscious vs. Unconscious

The distinction between subconscious and unconscious is a subtle one. The noun subconscious refers to the mind’s activities just beneath consciousness, and the part of the mind devoted to such activities. The unconscious, by contrast, is the part of the mind that exerts a strong influence on behavior but is not noticed by one’s consciousness.

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  • Mark Nichol on
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Jump-Starts and Start-Ups

A reference to the name of a law called the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act
pointed out to me how easily confusion is created in writers’ minds by varying treatment of hyphenated terms.

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  • Mark Nichol on
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Words for Extreme Weather Events

What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a tropical storm? The first two types of weather events are cyclones that sustain surface winds of at least 74 miles per hour—faster than virtually any highway speed limit in the United States. The term “tropical storm” refers to a degraded hurricane or typhoon.

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  • Mark Nichol on
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Writing Contests and Competitions

This page will be updated regularly with the latest writing contests and competitions from around the web and the world! Make sure to bookmark it. If you are promoting a writing contest, or are aware of one that is not listed here, please send the details to info@dailywritingtips.com and we’ll include it here as soon […]

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3 Questions About Emphasis

The following questions from readers, and the responses, pertain to how words are formatted to provide emphasis.

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3 Problems with Parenthesis

Parenthesis is the strategy of setting a word, phrase, or clause off from a sentence to interject additional information into that statement. Despite the name, parenthesis can be accomplished with a two commas or a pair of dashes as well as with a brace of parentheses. However, several problems can occur when writers attempt to parenthesize: The punctuation employed is not appropriate, the parenthesis is misplaced in the sentence, or what appears to be a parenthetical element is in fact something else. The following sentences illustrate these three problems respectively.

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That Is vs. Which Is

This generation, like every one before it and every one to follow, has the dubious pleasure of seeing evolution of language in action. The changes are obvious to careful writers, as they notice with distressingly increasing frequency the erosion of a distinction between words with similar but divergent meanings (for example, anxious versus eager) or a relaxing of a grammatical rule.

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The 411 on Numeronyms

Numerals are often used in numeronyms: in combination with other numerals and with letters to represent a word, phrase, or concept. This post loosens the definition of numeronym to also include a numeral without one or more accompanying letters and with or without other symbols.

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Punctuation Quiz #1: Parentheses

All but one of the following sentences demonstrate incorrect style for parenthesis; revise placement and capitalization as necessary.

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  • Mark Nichol on
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Conjunctive Adverbs vs. Adverbs

A conjunctive adverb is an adverb that has been authorized to perform the function of a conjunction, which simply means that it links one part of a sentence with another. (Standard conjunctions consist of the phrase and clause connectors for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so, acronymized in that order as the mnemonic FANBOYS.)

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