A lot of people mix up complement and compliment. These two words have identical pronunciations, meaning they’re homophones. They have nearly identical spellings. Their definitions, however, are quite different from each other. Complement Complement can be a noun or a verb. When it’s a noun, it’s a thing that completes, enhances or improves something else. When it’s … Continue reading Complement vs. Compliment
I’d like to address the popular and false notion that it’s incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. But first, let’s remind ourselves what a preposition is. The preposition A preposition is a word that describes the relationship between a noun and another word in the sentence. Examples include after, before, between, among, in, out, with and without. (And some words, … Continue reading Prepositions
One of my duties as a copyeditor is to ensure texts are free from sexist or gendered terms. At the most basic level, that means changing words like fireman to firefighter and stewardess to flight attendant. It also includes avoiding the use of male pronouns when referring to a person of unknown gender or groups of multiple genders, which … Continue reading Nongendered Language
Some people hate irregardless. (Spellcheck doesn’t like it, because it’s giving me the squiggly red line right now.) The haters call it illogical, say it’s not a word and hold it up as an example of how the English language is falling apart. Illogical? Yes. Not a word? Meh. A sign of the downfall of English? … Continue reading Irregardless
Good is an adjective. Well is usually an adverb, but it can act as an adjective sometimes. These two words are involved in many of the corrections amateur grammarians attempt to make. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I usually reply, “I’m good. How are you?” I can’t tell you how many times the person … Continue reading I’m Good or I’m Well?
Imply means “to strongly suggest.” Infer means “to deduce or conclude.” In other words, the speaker (or writer) implies something. The listener (or reader) infers something. Many people interchange imply and infer, thinking they mean the same thing. Some people simply opt for infer every time. All these people are misguided. Here are some examples of correct use: In his speech to … Continue reading Imply vs. Infer
Few grammar issues are more dividing these days than singular they. For those unfamiliar, I’ll briefly explain the hubbub before I dive deeper. Traditionally, they (along with related words their and them) is a plural pronoun, meaning it represents two or more people. He and she are singular pronouns. While he is masculine and she is feminine, they can represent two or more … Continue reading Singular They