Word of the Day: Gamut

A gamut is anything graduated (i.e. marked at regular intervals) used to measure. A ruler, for example, could be called a gamut. In music a gamut represents all the known musical notes. Finally, gamut can also mean a complete range of something (e.g., a gamut of colors). ESPN’s online arm runs gamut of live sports … Read more

Writing with Rhythm

This is a guest post by Hugh Ashton. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here. When I was substantially younger than I am now, I wrote masses of anguished adolescent poetry. My favorite verse form was the sonnet, a style and format that is maybe little surprising for a … Read more

Avert eyes, Divert attention

A dog trainer gives the following advice: If you pass a barking dog or other distraction, keep moving forward. If your dog averts its attention to the distraction, give a tug on the lead to avert the attention back to the walk at hand. The uses of the word avert in this passage strike me … Read more

Word of the Day: Nihilism

Nihilism is a doctrine. It defends that nothing can be really known or communicated. In other words, it is an extreme skepticism regarding knowledge and reality itself, and it can be equated with nothingness. Nihilism can also mean the rejection of all established religious values and morals. The adjective is nihilistic. Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s presumed … Read more

Books About Writing

I figured that it would be useful to have a page on the blog dedicated to books about writing. This initial list was created taking into consideration the books that our writers reviewed or recommended in the past. We plan to update it regularly as well. If you have a suggestion just write a comment … Read more

Foo Fighters and UFOs

Only recently have I come across the delicious term Foo Fighter. foo fighter: Any of various unidentified lights encountered by airborne forces during the Second World War (1939-45), interpreted variously as enemy weapons, natural phenomena, or alien spacecraft. –OED According to a lengthy and informative article at Answers.com, foo fighters were seen at sites all … Read more

Word of the Day: Arson

Arson (är’sən) is the crime of voluntarily burning the house or property of another person. Burning your own house with a malicious purpose is also considered arson. Finally, the person who commits this crime is called arsonist. Matthew Cloyd, 20, and Benjamin Moseley and Russell DeBusk, both 19, face a hearing in federal court here … Read more

Are You Sure You Mean “Majority”?

A reader in the UK asks Have you dealt with most v majority in your tips ?  Perhaps you don`t suffer from a rash of “majority” in the US but here it`s a disease.  “The majority of the rain will be in the west.”    “We spend the majority of our time in town.”  It`s … Read more

Word of the Day: Ward

Ward (wôrd) has several meanings. It can be a specific area of a city, prison, castle, hospital and the like. To ward means to guard or protect, and the person who guards can also be called ward. Finally, the expression to ward off is commonly used to express the act of repelling something. Ten years … Read more

Ebook, eBook, ebook or e-book?

I share the concerns of the person who posted this question at Yahoo’s answer page: I have seen the word “ebook” used in many different ways and would like to know the correct way to type it in a sentence. I have seen it typed ebook, Ebook, eBook, e-book, E-book, etc. Which is correct and … Read more

Word of the Day: Burgeon

Burgeon (bûr’jən), which can also be spelt as bourgeon, means to grow, sprout or blossom. Howard also announced a cash payment of $720 for each adult and $400 for each child who lost their homes — an initial response that was expected to burgeon quickly to millions of dollars in aid. (USAToday.com) The firm risks … Read more

What’s the Difference Between “Say” and “Tell”?

Gopal Gupta would like to know the difference between the words tell and say . The OED entries for say and tell are crowded with definitions and idiomatic uses for the two words, but the most common meaning for both is “to express in words.” Tell, however, also has the sense of “recount” or “narrate,” … Read more