You may have read about someone "pouring over" a book, implying that they're studying its pages intently. Unfortunately, it's wrong. Someone "pouring over" their book is likely dumping the contents of a watering can over it. It's a common mistake, but the correct phrase is "pore over." It's not a … Continue reading Is it “pour over” or “pore over”?
Discrete is just an alternate spelling of discreet, you might think. And it's understandable, what with all the Canadian, British and American spelling differences where an E is moved here, or a U inserted there. However, in this case, discrete and discreet are two entirely different words. Here's the difference between them: Discrete … Continue reading “Discreet” vs “discrete”
This word confusion is commonly seen, but it's also one with a very simple explanation. Weary = tired, exhausted Wary = unsure, cautious So, saying "I was weary of attending the party" is correct only if you're tired of attending the party, but not if you're having second thoughts or … Continue reading “Weary” vs “wary”
I’ll be honest – this one gets up my nose a bit every time I hear/read it. You’ve probably heard people say they “couldn’t care less” about something, but you’ve probably also heard them say they “could care less” about something. So which one is right? The correct way to … Continue reading Why saying “I could care less” is wrong
If you're like me, you grew up hearing your parents say something like, "It's 'Mark and I', dear." Well I'm here to tell you that even in adulthood, it still feels good to learn that your parents don't know everything. The proper usage of "you and I" Your parents weren't … Continue reading The difference between “you and I” and “you and me”
The four words "anyway," "any way," "everyday" and "every day" illustrate for me just how precise and seemingly random the English language can be. It's not always easy to tell which usage is correct. Specifically, getting "everyday" and "every day" mixed up is so common, I bet many people don't … Continue reading Anyway/any way and everyday/every day
One thing that fascinates me, though the result often frustrates me, is how many of our spelling errors arise from the spoken word. The phrases "should of" and "could of" are perfect examples of this. Why "should of" and "could of" are incorrect "Should of" and "could of", if you … Continue reading “Should/could have” vs “should/could of”
This is a spelling misunderstanding I’ve been seeing around the internet quite often lately. These two words sound similar, but they’re different. Here’s the difference between “conscious” and “conscience” Conscious means to be awake, to be aware, or to have knowledge of something. Conscience is the little voice inside you that tells … Continue reading “Conscious” vs “conscience”
I know that the English language is ever evolving (though I try in my own way to keep it from evolving into incoherency), but there are some popular phrases that just make my skin crawl. I hereby vow to never use these in any form, written or spoken: Across the … Continue reading What phrases really bug you?
I recently noticed that someone had arrived at my site through a Google search for “grammar of ‘i am won’t.’” It took me a minute or two to understand that the question really was about the word wont. So, in case you ever come back this way, Mystery Googler, here is … Continue reading “Won’t” vs “wont”