Raining Death and Destruction

This week I received an email that contained the phrase “reigning death and destruction on innocent people.” Naturally, I was moved to do a web search to see if other writers were misspelling the phrase “raining death and destruction.”

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 1 Comments

Is Ask a Noun?

Examples of ask as a noun can be found in Old English, and the OED includes a citation of its use as a card-playing term in 1886, but the uses illustrated in the reader’s question are fairly recent.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 4 Comments

Anyone and Everyone Are Welcome

A reader asks for clarification regarding the use of the phrase “anyone and everyone” in such sentences as these: Everyone knows they love to talk on the phone to anyone and everyone.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 4 Comments

Prop, Props, and Props To

I was familiar with props as a shortening of several different English words, but this usage left me bewildered.

NOTE: This post is for readers who, like me, have managed to remain ignorant of the expression “props to” until now. It is also for ESL learners who may not be familiar with other uses of prop.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 2 Comments

Tenants vs. Tenets

Both words, tenant and tenet, derive from the Latin verb tenere, “to hold,” but they are not interchangeable.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 0 Comments

Many and Much

Both words have more than one function in English, but a common challenge for ESL learners is how to use many and much with countable and uncountable nouns.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 1 Comments

Verb Mistakes #9: Past Tense forms of Lay and Lie

Two verbs that give many native speakers fits are to lay and to lie. I’ve written more than one post to explain how lay is transitive and lie is intransitive. If you require a review, please use the links at the end of this article.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 2 Comments

Seduce, Seduction and Seductive

Wording in an astrological meme I saw on Facebook prompted this post: People born under the sign of Cancer are very observing. They are very seducing and captivating.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 1 Comments

Below is Not an Attributive Adjective

The word below is used as a preposition and as an adverb, but never as an attributive adjective.

At least, that is what I believed until I received this email from a reader.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 2 Comments

Addressing A Letter to Two People

One post often leads to another. The recent article “Conventional Letter Salutations in English” garnered several questions about how to address a letter to a married couple who have different titles and/or different surnames.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 6 Comments

Having a Fit

The little word fit has multiple functions and occurs in numerous expressions.

In Middle English, the noun fit denoted an intense experience that could be painful, dangerous, or exciting.

Read More
  • Maeve Maddox on
  • 1 Comments