Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

There’s a popular expression in English that usually goes something like this: You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Here’s how the Oxford American Dictionary defines the phrase: “You can’t enjoy both of two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives.” For example, most of us can’t spend money on expensive cars and fine foods and still … Continue reading Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Until, Till and ’Til

Until is a fairly common word in English. You might say, “I can’t wait until summer” or “I’ll give you until sundown to deliver the money.” A popular alternative to until is till. In fact, “I’ll give you till sundown to deliver the money” probably sounds better. But is till the correct way to write this word? Or should it be ’til? … Continue reading Until, Till and ’Til

Parentheses With Other Punctuation

Parentheses have several uses, but the most common one (for most of us, anyway) is to enclose remarks, clarifications or afterthoughts that are inserted into a sentence or paragraph. A common source of confusion when it comes to parentheses is where to place them relative to other punctuation. Parentheses and Periods If the parentheses (and … Continue reading Parentheses With Other Punctuation

By Accident vs. On Accident

There’s one basic difference between by accident and on accident. By accident is standard English. On accident is nonstandard English. You’ve probably seen and heard “on accident” plenty of times, and perhaps you’ve used it yourself. It’s understandable, because on purpose is common and standard, so on accident seems natural to some people. But, if you forget about “on purpose” for a second, then “on accident” … Continue reading By Accident vs. On Accident