“Bored with,” or “bored of”?

Reader Anton Kelly wonders about the “bored of” construction being used on many sites instead of standard “bored with.” Here are some examples of nonstandard usage on the web: Is Robert Gibbs Getting Bored Of Being Press Secretary? Nick Cannon ‘Bored of Being Called Mr. Mariah Carey’ Do dogs get bored of the same foods? … Read more

“Gratitude” or “Gratefulness”?

Lauren writes: I have searched the internet for the answer to this, but I cannot find it: What is the difference between ‘gratitude’ and ‘gratefulness’ if any. Both Merriam-Webster and the OED treat the words as synonyms: Merriam-Webster: gratitude: the state of being grateful gratefulness: : the quality or state of being grateful OED: gratitude: … Read more

“Nonce-words,” “For the Nonce,” and “Nonce”

Cine Cynic posits a question about the word nonce in the expression nonce-word: Reading about Lewis Carroll, I stumbled upon the concept of nonce words. What surprised me the most is that “nonce” is also slang for paedophile in Brit. How did that come about? Is it related to the allegations about Lewis Carroll? The … Read more

To Outline or Not to Outline, That is the Question

This is a guest post by Idrees Patel. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here. Creative writers are divided into two camps: those who outline and those who don’t: the ones who write straight on and on. Is it wrong to outline? Which method brings the best results? From … Read more

“Cement” or “Concrete”?

Mike Hooker writes: I have a problem with people using the word “cement” when they  mean “concrete”; they are not interchangeable, yet people write and say it all the time.…To clarify, cement is the powder used to make concrete. The hardened surfaces on which we walk and drive are concrete, not cement. It’s really no … Read more

Writing Clinic #2: Dear Co-Owners

It is time for another edition of the Writing Clinic. This week we have an article that one of our readers wrote for his company’s annual report. If you want to submit a piece for the writing clinic, please email it to [email protected]. Before Dear Co-owners Once again, it is that time of the year … Read more

What’s a “Factoid”?

Jason Fenchuk on May 28, 2010 11:52 am I was wondering if you could help clear up the meaning of the word factoid in everyday use? I was interrupted in a meeting after supposedly using the word incorrectly. So after a debate, we looked it up and were both correct. My interpretation followed the 2nd … Read more

40 Twitter Hashtags for Writers

If you use Twitter, you’re probably already familiar with the idea of hashtags. These are simply a way of categorizing particular tweets by including within them a keyword prefixed with the hash or “pound” (#) symbol. So, for example, tweets containing writing advice will often contain the “#writetip” tag. The point of this is to … Read more

“Latter,” not “Ladder”

Andrew Chatwin asks: Latter and Ladder, how are they different? One difference is that of pronunciation: latter [lăt’ər] ladder[lăd’ər] In ordinary speech, however, the difference between the t and d sounds is often difficult to discern. Apparently other speakers are puzzled by the word latter. Here’s a question asked and answered at Yahoo Answers: Why … Read more

Abroad and Overseas

Lucia Waterman asks: What is the difference between “abroad” and “overseas”? When use it? As adverbs meaning “out of one’s own country,” abroad and overseas are used interchangeably, as can be seen in these headlines and the text that follows them: Renewable energy money still going abroad, despite criticism from Congress Money from the 2009 … Read more

Abstruse and Obtuse

Some writers seem to be confusing obtuse with the word abstruse, as in these incorrect examples on the web: Believe it or not, the American public wasn’t always in love with Alfred Hitchcock. Because his movies were often too intelligent or obtuse, he had more fans in the film elite than he did in the … Read more

Normality and Normalcy

Audrey Bennett asks: Can “normalcy” and “normality” be used interchangeably? Both nouns derive from the adjective normal. normal: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. The adverb is normally. According to some speakers, normalcy is an abominable neologism to be avoided at all costs. This attitude is illustrated by this comment praising a writer … Read more