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Don’t Raise a Ruckus about Rise and Raise

Here’s a little grammar lesson. Some verbs are transitive. This means they take a direct object. Writers often run into confusion, for example, with lay and lie. Lay takes an object (I lay the book on the table), so it’s a transitive verb. But lie (as in lie down, or telling a fib) is an intransitive verb. It does not take a object. You lie down. You don’t “lie” something down.

Okay, got it?

Now, think about the words raise and rise. The basic distinction is that raise is transitive.

  • I raise my hand when I want to be called on.
  • He raised the flag when they blew the trumpet.

Easy, right? Got that transitive thing down now? Good. So what about rise? Rise is an intransitive verb, and now you know what that means. Continue Reading…

Hale, Hardy, and Hearty

If you’re hale, you’re well.  And some people like to use the expression “hale and hearty.” That sounds right, doesn’t it? Maybe they are thinking it means they have a healthy heart, but the word hearty is incorrect.

When we talk about someone being bold, vigorous, or robust, we say they are hardy. That’s quite a bit different from hearty, which means warm and enthusiastic.

  • He gave me a hearty greeting when I arrived.
  • She’s a hearty gal—strong and healthy.

Hearty can also mean nourishing and satisfying, when talking about food or appetite: Continue Reading…

Don’t Get Hung Up on Hang

It’s fine if you’ve hung a picture or a sweater on a hook. But if you sent a man to the gallows, that person wasn’t hung. He was hanged.

You can have a hung jury: a jury unable to reach a verdict. They are “hung up” on a decision.

You hang up on someone, and you can get hung up on a project.

But criminals found guilty of capital offenses are hanged (in some places in the world). We all know what that entails. Yet even though we say “his wife hanged herself,” not every instance of being suspended in air with a rope around the neck is a “hanging.” Continue Reading…

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