“Congenial” vs. “Genial”

What’s the difference between congenial and genial? They both derive from that Latin term that also developed into genius, but their meanings are mostly distinct. Genial means “friendly” or “sympathetic,” or “mild”; it also describes someone who displays or is marked by genius, but that is a rare usage. Genial can refer to a person … Read more

Watch for Visually Distracting Phrases

Writers (and readers) face many perils — faulty grammar, mangled syntax, and misplaced, missing, or extraneous punctuation among them — but there’s one form of distraction writers might more easily overlook: Visually (and/or acoustically) distracting groups of words that, for one of three reasons, create obstacles to clear reading. One type of obstruction is repetition … Read more

3 More Answers to Questions About Capitalization

Whether to capitalize words is one of the most frequent issues that come up in the queries of DailyWritingTips email subscribers and site visitors. Here are three such questions and my responses. 1. When do I capitalize the word customer in a sentence? For example, is it correct to write, “This is very important, because … Read more