Style Quiz #15: Redundancy

Correct errors of redundancy in the following sentences by removing words that repeat the meaning already expressed by other words in the same sentence. 1. After a few minutes, the hawk was a small speck in the sky. 2. The Medical Examiner was called to the building where a dead corpse had been found. 3. […]

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“Stance” and Its Relations

A previous post listed words such as constitute that ultimately stem from the Latin verb stare, meaning “stand.” Here, stance (from the present participle of stare), and words in which stance is the root, as well as terms related to those words, are listed and defined. A stance is a literal or figurative attitude or […]

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3 Cases of Using the Wrong Punctuation

In each of the following sentences, the wrong punctuation has been employed to aid in organization of a sentence. Discussion after each example explains the problem, and a revision demonstrates the solution. 1. Ensure that you have an escape route while driving in traffic, drive at a speed that places your vehicle outside clusters of […]

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35 Numerical Prefixes

This post lists prefixes of Greek and/or Latin provenance used in expressions of numerical relationships, with examples. 1. uni-: “one” (unicycle) 2. mono-: “one” (monogamy) 3–4. du-: “two” (duplicate); sometimes duo- (duopoly) 5–6. deuter-: “two” (deuterium); sometimes deutero- (deuterograph) 7. bi-: “two” (bicycle) or “twice” (biannual) 8. di-: “two” (dilemma) 9. tri-: “three” (triangle) 10. […]

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Punctuation Quiz #26: Punctuation Errors

The following sentences contain errors of punctuation. Revise them as necessary. 1. That’s my dream car in the window I plan to buy it as soon as I have enough money. 2. The boss is really old. He still addresses women clients as Mrs So-and-So. 3. I never expected to see so many glacier’s and […]

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5 Functions of Quotation Marks

This post discusses the use of quotation marks to distinguish dialogue, parts of compositions, phrases as phrases, scare quotes, and epithets. 1. For Dialogue Quotation marks are placed around speech in fiction (to distinguish it from attribution and narrative) and nonfiction (for the same reasons, in addition to emphasizing that it is recorded verbatim and […]

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Essential and Nonessential Clauses

Discussions below explain the mistakes in the examples given, which err in mistaking essential and nonessential clauses and vice versa. A revision accompanying each sample sentence demonstrates correct form. An essential (or restrictive) word, phrase, or clause is one that is necessary for conveying the intended meaning of a sentence. When the essential element follows […]

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The Meanings of “Myth” and Related Words

Myth, originally a word of elevated and scholarly pretension, has passed into the vernacular to describe anything of dubious truth or validity, though it retains earlier senses. This post lists definitions of the word and others of which it is the root. The word derives from the Greek term mythos, which variously means “speech” or […]

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25 Names of Fabrics, Wools, and Leathers Derived from Place Names

This post lists and defines terms for apparel materials that have in common that the terms are derived from place names. 1. angora: a type of wool from Angora rabbits, which originated near Ankara (previously Angora), Turkey 2. Bedford cord: a corduroy-like fabric, named after Bedford, England, or New Bedford, Massachusetts 3. calico: a type […]

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Vocabulary Quiz #15: Homonyms

Homonyms are words that sound alike, but have different meanings and usually different spellings. In these sentences choose the word with the correct meaning for the sentence context. 1. Mrs. Reid has ______ the responsibility for her disabled son for twenty years. a) borne b) born 2. The gardener’s work will ______ my design as […]

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3 Examples of Expletives to Be Expunged

In each of the following sentences, an expletive (a form of “there is” or “it is”) inhibits an active, concise sentence construction, and other wording is passive and/or more verbose than necessary. Discussion after each example explains the problem, and a revision demonstrates the solution. 1. There have been several immediate actions that the agency […]

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More Words Drawn from “Trahere”

A recent post explored tract and other words derived from the Latin verb trahere (“draw”) that are based on tract. Here, other words stemming from trahere that do not build on tract are listed and defined. The descendant of trahere that most closely resembles tract is trace. To trace is to discover or follow, to […]

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