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Tag Archive - grammar tips

Semimonthly Madness

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Do you ever stop and scratch your head when you have to choose between a term like semimonthly and bimonthly? I do, and for good reason. It’s easy to confuse the prefixes semi and bi.

Here’s one very good reason for the confusion. Take a look at Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary definitions of bimonthly: 1: occurring every two months; 2: occurring twice a month: semimonthly.

Excuse me?? How can a word mean both or either occurring every two months and twice a month? Would that mean one month you see the word two times, and then not again until two months later? Sheesh. Continue Reading…

Let’s Get Social in Our Terms

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Social media words have made their way into nearly every aspect of our lives. Its terminology is now part of our literary world as well.

  • Google made its way into Merriam-Webster’s in 2006 as a verb. While M-W recognizes both the capped and uncapped variations, the folks at Google are touchy about using the term for just any search engine. If you’re using Google, fine. But with another search engine, the preferred phrasing is: “I did an Internet search.” Because Google is a trademarked name, it is capitalized.
  • Twitter and tweets are (excuse the pun) birds of a different feather. Because Twitter is another trademarked/brand name and to distinguish it from sound a bird makes, capitalize Twitter, but the most accepted style for tweet, since it’s a verb form of an action and not directly derived from the company name, is to lowercase that word.
  • In another lifetime text referred only to the printed word. Now that texting is a popular way of communicating, new uses of the word are part of our vocabulary. Texting is now both a verb and a noun. As such it has a present (texting) and past (texted) tense.
  • And what about the terminology related to signing in to your computer? Are logon and login nouns? Verbs? One word? Two words?

Continue Reading…

Should I Take It or Bring It?

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I remember the first time someone called me out for using bring (or was it take?) when I should have used take (or was it bring?). Like many folks, I wasn’t aware I was using the two words incorrectly. So let me give you a few tips so you can avoid making the same mistake.

Both bring and take refer to motion. The distinction is the direction or your point of reference. When the direction is toward someone, use bring. You could also think of come. If you want someone to deliver something to you, to come in your direction, you want them to bring you something.

  • “Hey, Fido, bring me the morning paper and my slippers, won’t you?” Continue Reading…
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