Two Words: Crevice/Crevasse

These look like alternate spellings of the same word. But they aren’t. To be sure, they have similar meanings and similar pronunciations. I’ve always assumed they meant the same. I was mistaken. Here’s the scoop: The other night, at maybe … Continue reading

Three Words: Another Think Coming (or is it “Thing”?)

Can common usage of a common word like “thing” be wrong — even when it’s grammatically correct? This question pesters people like me, worrying as we do about whether grammar “rules” should be prescriptive or descriptive. For some time lately, … Continue reading

One Word: So

Reader Paul Ruff notes that “so” is replacing “like” as the all-purpose, meaningless word with which to start a sentence. We used to hear conversations such as: “Like, I’m going skydiving tomorrow.” “Like, wow, that’s awesome!” “Like, without a parachute!” … Continue reading

Two Words: Forbear / Forebear

We just discussed “forgo” and “forego”. The situation is similar with “forbear” and “forebear”. To forbear is to manifest great patience under extreme difficulty or suffering. “Forbear” is a verb. Its noun form is “forbearance”. A forebear is an ancestor. … Continue reading

Two Words: Prescriptive & Descriptive

In choosing your words, are you prescriptive or descriptive? There’s nothing necessarily wrong with either one. But you’ll choose words more effectively if you know which approach you’re favoring. More precisely, you should know where you fall along the spectrum … Continue reading

Six Words: Rainbow!

How many colors in a rainbow? Six! What? Doesn’t “everybody know” there are seven? No, but seven is what most of us were taught: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. That’s how I learned them in school. We … Continue reading

Two Words: Were / Where

Has anyone else noticed a recent uptick in the frequency with which people misspell “where” as “were”? That is, leaving out the “h”? Resulting in written sentences like “I wonder were I left my car keys?” I’ve seen this a … Continue reading