Can You Speak Your Readers’ Language?

Face it, we English speakers (which presumably includes you, since you’re reading this) don’t always read and write the same language, even if we all call it English. Sure, someone trying to communicate in a language that isn’t their native language may have a harder time being understood. But we understand that and make allowances … Read more

What is the Difference Between Among and Amongst?

I first heard amongst used when I went to live in England. To my ear it sounds quaint and very “British.” I especially like it in the expression “to put the cat amongst the pigeons.” If there ever was a difference between the two words, it is lost now. According to the OED, amongst is … Read more

Gods and Ducks – Get It Right

Deus ex machina: from Mod.L. translation of Gk. theos ek mekhanes, lit. “the god from the machina,” the device by which “gods” were suspended over the stage in Gk. theater–Online Etymology Dictionary. I heard an NPR reporter use this expression to refer to a character in the 2001 cult movie Donnie Darko. (Spoiler alert: stop … Read more

October 2007 Most Popular Articles

Gross Writing Errors Found on the Web: That being said, a little attention toward correct spelling and basic grammar rules couldn’t hurt, right? Below you will find some curious, to say the least, errors that we gathered on the Web. 8 Proofreading Tips And Techniques: Whether you are writing a magazine article, a college essay … Read more

Prescribe vs. Proscribe

Only one letter separates this oppositional pair. To prescribe is to order the use of or set out a rule. From this we get a prescription, which sets out how you are to take a particular medicine. We also get prescriptive grammar, which is grammar that presumes that there is one set of grammatical rules … Read more