Tag Archives: grammar

Blame it on Lewis Carroll

A reader requested the following explanation: “…Perhaps you can tell me what word is used when a part of one word is combined with part of another word to form a whole new word.” Well, the short answer would have … Continue reading

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Past or Passed: When the Past Has Passed

Use past to refer to the time that came before now or to refer to beyond something in distance. His ten years of working for a corporation with a bad reputation is in the past (the time before now). Their … Continue reading

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Has Your Curiosity Been Peaked—or Piqued?

I understand why it’s tempting to use the word peak when describing an excited stage of interest in or curiosity about something. After all, a peak is the pointy top of something, so it’s natural to think of a peak … Continue reading

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Future Tense or Present Tense: Is the Future Now?

I heard a meteorologist talking about weather that was going to happen later in the day and the next day, that is, going to happen in the future, so it was confusing when she said It does get better at … Continue reading

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Fewer vs. Less: Fewer Things, Less Stuff

With countable things, use fewer, not less. With things that are not countable, such as emotions and things that are measured in bulk or total amount, use less; for example, you’ll notice fewer lines around your eyes if you use … Continue reading

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Can’t Hardly or Can Hardly: I Can Hardly Stand It

In Shakespeare’s time, double negatives such as can’t hardly were common, but in current standard usage (and by current, I don’t mean that I just made it up this week!), double negatives are substandard grammar. Hardly means scarcely or barely, … Continue reading

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Lose versus Loose: Let’s Lose This Spelling Error

I’ve actually had a couple of readers send me e-mail to ask that I write about the difference between loose and lose. It seems that I’m not the only person to have seen these two spelling errors. When talking about … Continue reading

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