Found 268 articles starting with A:

A Final Summary of Verbs

Summary of VerbsVerbs fulfill five functions in our language. In their conjugated form, they enable us to form clauses, either as complete sentences or as dependent clauses. They also appear as infinitives (to verbs)...

A General Summary of Nouns

At this stage, we are still just exploring the eight parts of speech. The first is the noun. Above, we learned that nouns serve to name things, people, places, ideas, feelings, and other abstractions. One way to test a word to see if it’s acting as a...

a lot - correct spelling

a lot noun Not alot, which is simply not a word. You wouldn't climb atree, would you? Example: He took a lot of pictures...

A lot vs. allot

Karl needed a lot of time for the job. He allotted three breaks a day to everyone in the department....

A Summary of Adjectives

In this section, we introduced ourselves to the adjective, which comes in a one-word form that either precedes or follows the noun it modifies.When the adjective precedes the noun, it’s in the attributive position.When it follows the ...

A Summary of Adverbs

In this section, we met the last of the working words, the adverb. We have visited the noun, the verb, the adjective, and now the adverb.We learned that adverbs come in a variety of sizes: one-word adverbs, multiword phrases, and multiword cl...

A Summary of Conjunctions

We have three kinds of conjunctions:1. coordinating 2. correlative 3. subordinatingWe have seen that coordinating and correlative conjunctions join two or three or four or more clau...

A Summary of Prepositions

In this section, we learned all about the preposition, whose primary role in life is to stick nouns on sentences. We met three basic kinds: simple, marginal, and compound. We learned that skilled writers don’t use too many compound prepositions like ...

A Summary of Pronouns

We have seven types of pronouns: (1) personal, (2) reflexive and intensive, (3) indefinite, (4) demonstrative, (5) relative, (6) interrogative, and (7) reciprocal.You must commit to memory some of the basic rules governing the correct use of ...

A Summary of the 10 Functions of Nouns

Here they are again—the 10 functions of nouns.1. Subjects of Sentences The professor, John Smith, is the noun expert, so yesterday he gave the class his views on the importance of learning to ...

A Summary of Verbs

We’re going to return to verbs in more detail below, but now let’s summarize what you’ve learned. For right now, you need to remember that all verbs break down into five groups.A Summary of Verbs Verb...

A while vs. Awhile

It can be difficult to remember the difference between awhile and a while. They are awfully close in their appearance—separated by just one tiny space. Plus, you don’t really have conversational clues to aid you because they soun...

a while, awhile

Awhile is an adverb that will most commonly follow a verb. (Could you wait awhile?)A while i...

a while, awhile - correct spelling

a while, awhile nounNot awhile, which is an adverb.Example: Wait here for a while. The expression a whil...

A Word About "Nor"

Nor After NegativesThe conjunction nor can serve either as a coordinating conjunction or as part of the correlative conjunction neither . . . nor. As a coordinating conjunction, it can join a comple...

a, an

Writers sometimes confuse the use of the articles a and an. We were all taught that a precedes a word starting with a consonant ...

abase - vocabulary

abase - verb To deprive of esteem, to diminish a person’s self-worth or effectiveness; to degrade or demean; to humble, humiliate, mortify; to bring low, take down a peg. When ...

abeyance - vocabulary

abeyance - noun A state of suspension or temporary inaction; the condition of being temporarily set aside or held in suspension, as in They held the program in abeyance. In law, a co...

ability - correct spelling

ability nounExample: Her ability as a leader impressed us. ...

abject - vocabulary

abject - adjective Sunk to a low condition, miserable, degraded, without self-respect, of the lowest kind.Note: Often used in the cliché, abject poverty...

abjure - vocabulary

abjure - verb To recant; to repudiate under oath; to disavow a stance previously written or said; to renounce irrevocably. 2. Resolved, That we the citizens of Meckle...

abominate - vocabulary

abominate - verb To dislike strongly; to regard with loathing; to execrate. Now is as good a time as ever to revisit the history of the Crusades, or the sorry history of parti...

abrogate - vocabulary

abrogate - verb To abolish by official means; to annul by an authoritative act; to repeal, as in to abrogate a law; to put an end to. The new crusade to render socialism irrevocab...

absence - correct spelling

absence nounExample: Absence makes the heart grow fonder....

absent - correct spelling

absent correct spelling of absent adjectiveExample: The absent board member submitted her proxy....

abstemious - vocabulary

abstemious - adjective A state of self-denial or abstinence, regarding the use (usually overuse) of food or drink. When [Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121–180)] was eleven years old, he ...

abstruse - vocabulary

abstruse - adjective Having to do with matters difficult to comprehend. My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse crypto...

abundance - correct spelling

abundance nounExample: We harvested an abundance of corn....

accelerate - correct spelling

accelerate verbExample: The Lexus accelerates faster than a VW Bug....

accept - correct spelling

accept verbGrammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses except and accept. Click here for that discussion.Example: ...

accept, except examples

These two words are actually most likely to be confused in a situation where their meanings are actually the opposite.Accept as a verb means “to receive gladly,” “to be deemed proper...

acceptable - correct spelling

acceptable adjectiveExample: She brought an acceptable proposal to the meeting....

Access vs. Excess

En...

accessible - correct spelling

accessible adjectiveExample: The business built a ramp to make its store accessible to people in wheelchairs....

accident - correct spelling

accident nounExample: The accident injured the starting wide receiver for the Redskins....

accidentally - correct spelling

accidentally adverbNot accidently.Grammar.com's section on the Parts of Speech discusses the demise of -ly adverbs. ...

acclaim - correct spelling

acclaim verb or nounExample: The crowd acclaimed the conquering heroes. verbExample: ...

accommodate - correct spelling

accommodate verbSpell with two “c’s” and two “m’s.”Example: We can accommodate your wishes....

accommodation - correct spelling

accommodation nounSpell with two “c’s” and two “m’s.”Example: The little inn provided warm accommodations for the travelers....

accompanied - correct spelling

accompanied verb, past tense and past participle of accompany.Example: The bodyguard ...

accomplish - correct spelling

accomplish verbExample: Tiger Woods accomplished the remarkable feat of winning more than 25% of the tournaments he entered....

accordion - correct spelling

accordion nounNot accordian.Example: Lawrence Welk played the accordion over and over and over again....

accumulate - correct spelling

accumulate verbExample: The shareholders noticed that someone accumulated thousands of shares in just 15 minutes....

accumulation - correct spelling

accumulation nounExample: The stock is definitely under accumulation....

accuse - correct spelling

accuse verbExample: The husband will accuse his wife of being unfaithful....

accustomed - correct spelling

accustomed adjective (a past participial adjective, from the verb accustom) and a verbExample: I’ve grown ...

ache - correct spelling

ache noun and verbExample: He fought off all the aches and pains. nounExample: His...

achieve - correct spelling

achieve verbExample: He achieved every goal he set for himself....

achievement - correct spelling

achievement nounExample: Winning the PGA was the golfer’s greatest achievement....

acknowledge - correct spelling

acknowledge verbExample: The candidate acknowledged the cheers of the crowd....

acquaintance - correct spelling

acquaintance nounNot acquaintence or aquaintance.Example: In high school, she was a close acquaintance of mine....

acquainted - correct spelling

acquainted verb, past tense and past participle of acquaint, and adjectiveExample: He ...

acquire - correct spelling

acquire verbNot aquire.Example: He tried to acquire a controlling interest in the corporation....

acquit - correct spelling

acquit verbNot aquit.Example: The jury will acquit the defendant if the prosecutor fails to introduce sufficient evidence....

acquitted - correct spelling

acquitted verb, past tense and past participle of the verb acquitExample: The jury acqui...

acronym, initialism

An acronym is a pronounceable name made up of a series of initial letters or parts of words; for example, UNESCO for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.An initialism, on the other hand, is simply a ...

across - correct spelling

across preposition, adverb, and adjectiveExample: He traveled across the ocean. ...

action verb

An action verb denotes physical, mental, or even emotional activity. The word run is obviously an action verb. But so is think.Every action verb is either transitive or ...

Action Verbs

When Amber and Igor were grunting all those nouns that named people, animals, and things, they also noticed that people did things: Animals moved around, made noises, and ate stuff; and tangible things could move and affect other things. They noticed...

active voice

Every transitive verb can appear in one of two voices: the active voice or the passive voice.In the active voice, the grammatical subject of the sentence is the actor. Thus, in the ...

acumen - vocabulary

acumen - noun Quickness of intellectual insight, or discernment; keenness of judgment, insight, discrimination.Note: The older pronunciation stresses the second syllable. The mode...

Addition vs. Edition

He bought a car in addition to the truck he got last week. ...

address - correct spelling

address verb and nounExample: The politician will address the convention. verbExample: ...

addressed - correct spelling

addressed verbExample: The politician addressed the convention....

adduce - vocabulary

adduce - verb To bring forward evidence in an argument; to cite as pertinent or even conclusive. As shown below, often used in legal proceedings: President Clinton, through undersigned cou...

adequate - correct spelling

adequate adjectiveExample: She had adequate funds in her checking account....

adjectival clause

First, a clause is a group of words with a conjugated verb in it. Second, an adjectival clause is a clause that modifies or describes a noun or pronoun. Note these adjectival claus...

Adjectival Clauses and Phrases

Restrictive vs. NonrestrictiveIf the adjectival clause or phrase is nonrestrictive, put commas around it. If the clause or phrase is restrictive, do not put commas around it. See the discussion of that vs. which...

adjectival phrase

First, a phrase is any multiword group without a conjugated verb. Second, an adjectival phrase is a phrase that modifies or describes a noun or pronoun. Usually, an adjectival phra...

Adjectival Phrases

Funny word, the adjective. When it appears as just one word, it must usually come before the word it modifies. Thus, we can write about the essential factor, and we must position essential before factor. But if we add some ...

adjective

An adjective is a word or group of words that modifies or describes a noun (a little girl) or a pronoun (he is ...

Adjectives - Definition, Overview, and Lists of Examples

WelcomeBelow you’ll find links to our discussion on adjectives. We recommend that you start with the first topic, Adjectives - Words That Describe. At the bottom ...

Adjectives - Phrases and Clauses

It’s SHOUTING time again. Wake up. This stuff is important.There are two main types of word chunks, clauses and phrases. A clause is a bunch of words with a conjugated verb in it. A phrase is a bunch of words without a conjugated verb in it....

Adjectives - Words That Describe

We’ve learned about nouns. Now we’ll look at words that describe or modify nouns. We call these words or groups of words adjectives. In this section, we’ll also learn about articles—a, an, and the.Adjectives describ...

Admit vs. Confess

Ever wondered about the difference between admission and confession? And don’t say there isn’t because there IS! Admit and confess is a pair of words that usually tips of writers while writing their pieces and make them think twice before using t...

advantage - correct spelling

advantage nounExample: We finally have the advantage....

advantageous - correct spelling

advantageous adjectiveExample: This advantageous plan will rescue the company from bankruptcy....

adverb

An adverb is a word or group of words that modifies or describes a verb. Many one-word adverbs end in “-ly,” such as he ran quickly. Others, however, do not, such as he ran ...

adverbial clause

First, a clause is a group of words with a conjugated verb in it. Second, an adverbial clause is a clause that modifies or describes a verb. Note these adverbial clauses: He quit the race...

adverbial phrase

Many phrases can act as adverbs and modify a verb, another adverb, or an adjective. A prepositional phrase can act as an ad...

Adverbial Phrases Between Subject and Verb

Put preceding and trailing commas around any adverbial phrase coming between the subject and the verb: Ms. Smith, after commenting on the evidence, ruled in favor of the supervisor. The ...

Adverbs - Definition, Overview, and Lists of Examples

WelcomeBelow you’ll find links to our discussion on adverbs. We recommend that you start with the first topic, Adverbs - More Wor...

Adverbs - Four Questions

Four questions typically arise about the correct use of adverbs:1. Do all adverbs end in -ly? 2. Where do we put adverbs in the sentence? 3. Where does the word only go in a sentence? 4. How do we form the comparative and su...

Adverbs - More Words That Describe

We’ve learned about verbs. Now let’s study those words or groups of words that describe or modify verbs. We call them adverbs. Sometimes they end in ‑ly, and sometimes they don’t.Just as adjectives modify nouns, adverbs modify verbs....

Adverbs - Phrases and Clauses

More Shouting SHOUTING time. Wake up! Again, learning this concept about chunks of words that act as nouns, adjectives, and now adverbs is crucial to your future as a writer.So here it is again, the key concept: Other...

Adverse or Averse

More significantly, he has shown that if such ageing cells are selectively destroyed, these adverse effects go away. ...

adverse, averse

Adverse means "antagonistic" and is easily seen as the base of the word adversary. Averse means "feeling disinclined" and implies a desire to avoid. The wo...

advertise - correct spelling

advertise verbExample: We plan to advertise on the radio....

advertisement - correct spelling

advertisement nounExample: He wrote an award-winning advertisement for a national radio audience....

advice - correct spelling

advice nounNot advise (which is a verb).Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses adviceand advise. Click here...

advice, advise

Advice is a noun that means “counsel” or “opinion.”Advise is a verb that means “to give advice or counsel.”Use thi...

advisable - correct spelling

advisable adjectiveExample: This approach is neither necessary nor advisable....

advise - correct spelling

advise verbNot advice (which is a noun).Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses adviseand advice. ...

Adviser vs. Advisor

Are you a student who needs academic guidance about your future studies? You will be advised to visit the academic adviser. Or is it adadvisor? Does it confuse you which advisor to go when you need counsel regarding your studies? Tod...

advisor - correct spelling

advisor nounExample: Take this matter to your advisor....

aerial - correct spelling

aerial adjectiveExample: The aerial satellite pictures showed the location of the lost campers....

Aesthetic vs. Ascetic

Aesthetic and acetic are not exactly homophones but their close resemblance to each other leads to a lot of confusion amon...

affect - correct spelling

affect verb and nounNot effect (which is usually a noun, but sometimes a verb). For a discussion of affect vs. effect, read Chapter 8 in the section ...

affect, effect

These two words are discussed at length in the Common Grammatical Mistakes section of Grammar.com. Click here for that discussion.Both words can be used as e...

affectionate - correct spelling

affectionate adjectiveExample: His affectionate embrace alleviated her fears....

aficionado - correct spelling

aficionado nounPlural aficionados.Example: John is a wine aficionado....

again - correct spelling

again adverbExample: Try to use your DVD player again....

against - correct spelling

against prepositionExample: We were young and strong, we were runnin' Against the wind. —Bob Seger....

Ageing vs. Aging

Spelling differences between American and British English are enough to give writers fits. The same word is often spelled differently, depending on the background of the writer. There are many different spelling conventions betwe...

aggrandize - vocabulary

aggrandizement - noun Aggrandizement: the act of increasing the size or importance of something or somebody. aggrandize - verb Aggrandize: to widen or increa...

aggravate - correct spelling

aggravate verbExample: Your constant exercise will aggravate your injury....

aggressive - correct spelling

aggressive adjectiveExample: Her aggressive attitude helped her succeed in sales....

agree

Watch out. Those who diminish our language have turned the intransitive verb agree into a transitive verb. R...

agree - correct spelling

agree verbExample: A subject must agree with its verb in number....

Aid vs. Aide

The English language is full of confusing words that sound alike and are spelled alike. Today’s two words are no exception. Aid and aide are homophones, which means they sound the same when verbally spoken, but they are spelled d...

aide, aid

The word aid is a verb that means “help.” We should note that aid may also be used as a noun in the same way that “help” can be us...

ail - correct spelling

ail verbExample: He will ail with this sickness....

air - correct spelling

air noun and verbExample: He wanted to clear the air. nounExample: He was able to ...

Air vs. Heir

Homophones in English are the words that have the same pronunciation but very different meanings and spellings. Air and heir are an example of a pair of homophones and cause a lot of confusion for beginners of English language an...

aisle - correct spelling

aisle nounExample: After years of dating, he was ready to walk down the aisle....

Aisle vs. Isle

Aisle and isle are one of the most confusing pair of words as they sound exactly alike and their spellings are almost similar too. There is however, a great difference between ...

alacrity - vocabulary

alacrity - noun A state of cheerful willingness, readiness, or promptness; liveliness or briskness, as in He accepted the promotion with alacrity. I have not that alacrity...

ale - correct spelling

ale nounExample: Let me buy you a bottle of ale....

alight - correct spelling

alight verb and adjectiveExample: He wanted to alight from the limo in style. verbExam...

all ready - correct spelling

all ready See already.See already, all ready in Grammar.com's section on Problem Words.As two words, ...

all ready, already

To figure out which of these is correct, look for a time element. Already as one word implies that there was a time limit and the task was completed ahead of it. (In casual conversation it is also sometimes used to add empha...

all right - correct spelling

all right adjective and adverbNote: The spelling alright is likely to raise the eyebrows of your readers. The fused words already and altogether...

all right, alright

Use two words: all right. The one-word alright is incorrect in American English....

all together - correct spelling

all together See altogether....

all, all of

allIn formal writing, omit the of after all. Remember the folk song: All My Trials Not:All ...

alleged - correct spelling

alleged verb (past tense and past participle of the verb allege) and adjective...

Allude vs. Elude

He eluded to the problem but did not mention it. ...

Allude vs. Elude

Another set of words I get asked about frequently is the difference between allude and elude. Even though th...

allude, elude

Allude means “to refer to something indirectly or covertly” without actually naming it. The confusion here might come from the fact that elude means “to evade or escape.” They both can imply an elem...

Allusion vs. Illusion

The nouns allusion and illusion sound quite similar, and they both have connotations of intangibility. As a result, they are sometimes confused by writers. Consider the sentences be...

Allusion vs. Illusion #2

It’s not always easy to remember the meanings of English words. English contains many words borrowed or angl...

allusion, illusion

Allusion is a noun form of the verb allude and means “a reference to something indirectly or covertly.“An illusion ...

almost

Place almost directly before the word it modifies.The following is incorrect: There was almost a threatening edge to his voice....

almost - correct spelling

almost adverbExample: He has read almost every novel by John Grisham. adverb (modifying the adjective every)...

along with

See coupled with, as well as, along with, together with, not to mention....

alot, a lot, allot

The word lot is a one-word noun. When you precede it with the article a, you write the expression as two words: a lot. You wouldn’t refer to a tree as ...

Aloud vs. Allowed

English has plenty of homophones, but two of the most easily confused homophones are aloud and allowed. These two words give even experienced writers trouble. If you make this mistake in a text message or a post on social media, ...

already - correct spelling

already adverbNote: The two-word expression all ready means “entirely ready” or “prepared.” The one-word expression already means “previously” or “so soon.” Though indistinguis...

alright - correct spelling

alright The word alright is misspelled. See all right.See Grammar.com's section on Problem Words for a discussion of ...

Alternately vs. Alternatively

English is a complicated language and some very closely resembling words of English have meanings that are amazingly different from each other. Alternately and alternatively are two words that have only a slight difference in the...

although - correct spelling

although subordinating conjunctionNote: The conjunctions although and though are generally interchangeable. You should use though, however, when it’...

altogether - correct spelling

altogether adverbNote: The two-word expression all together means “in a group.” The one-word expression altogether means “wholly, entirely, completely.” Though indistinguishabl...

Altogether vs. All together

It was an altoge...

Aluminium vs. Aluminum

English is a complicated language and it may confuse its learners and native speakers alike due to some very similar words or words that have more than one spellings. Aluminium and aluminum are an example of such words and many p...

always - correct spelling

always adverbExample: He always works on weekends....

amateur - correct spelling

amateur noun and adjectiveExample: As an amateur, Tiger Woods played at Augusta National. noun...

Amber and Igor - Primitive Ancestors

You might think of nouns as naming words. It’s not hard to see why our primitive ancestors dreamed them up, at roughly the same time my eighth-grade English teacher, Miss Hamrick, came on the scene. When we used to grunt at one another in caves, mama...

Ambiance vs. Ambience

Let’s say you are trying to choose a restaurant for an anniversary dinner with your spouse. You will want to select a location that has an environment or atmosphere that you will both enjoy. You notice that some online reviews us...

amenable - vocabulary

amenable - adjective Willing or ready to answer, serve, agree, yield, or act; agreeable, tractable; legally responsible or answerable, as in She was amenable for her husband’s debt. ...

Amend vs. Emend

Every once in a while writers come across a set of words that are so similar to each other that they aren’t sure what the difference is. Either that or they use the words so infrequently that they forgot (or never knew to begin w...

American - correct spelling

American proper noun (always capitalized) and adjective (always capitalized).Example: Though a native of Mexico, she admired the ...

Amiable vs. Amicable

There exists words in English language that appear to be closely related to each other hence people believe that their meanings if not exactly the same, are very much similar to each other. That is most often not the case, and it...

among - correct spelling

among prepositionExample: Relax. You’re among friends.For a discussion of the Problem Words among and between, ...

Among vs. Amongst

The words among and amongst can cause a bit of confusion in people’s writing because not many of us are sure when to use which one. Are they just variations of the same word? Do they have different meanings? Do they have differen...

among, between

Entire chapters in grammar books have been devoted to this pair of words.Both words are prepositions.Some assert that between is used only when referring to two...

amount - correct spelling

amount noun and verbExample: The federal deficit is a staggering amount. nounExample: ...

Amount vs. Number

Some nouns can be counted individually. A person could count the crayons in a box, the eggs in a carton, or the people on a train. These are called count nouns. Other nouns can’t be counted individually. A person could not count ...

Amplify, Explain, or Digress

Use parentheses to enclose material that amplifies, explains, or digresses from the central message in the sentence: The disagreement between the president and the treasurer (they had fought over the issue a n...

Amuse vs. Bemuse

You may be confused by the words amused and bemused. They sound so much the same but mean something completely different. This could bemuse some and amuse others. Don’t let it befuddle you because it’s really quite funny. Worry n...

anachronism - vocabulary

anachronism - noun Anything or anyone not in the correct historical or chronological time; an error in the assignment of a date or time to a person, thing, or event, as in To describe Mozart in the 19...

analysis - correct spelling

analysis nounThe plural is analyses.Example: The board paid attention to our analysis of the...

analyze - correct spelling

analyze verbExample: You must analyze all options. ...

Analyze vs. Analyse

The disparity of standardization between American and British English has left many common words with multiple accepted spellings. In most cases, one form is standard in American En...

anathema - vocabulary

anathema -noun A person or thing loathed, hated, or detested; a curse or execration, as in This topic is anathema to him.Note: The plural is anathemas. ...

and

Don’t hesitate to start a sentence with And. It’s a coordinating conjunction, and great writers have been st...

anecdote, antidote

An anecdote is a short story or humorous tale. An antidote is a remedy that counteracts a poison or relieves an ailment.Example: His funny anecdotes provide...

anecdote, antidote - vocabulary

anecdote, antidote anecdote - noun A brief account of an interesting or even amusing event or incident. When the ladies removed after dinner Elizabeth ran up to her sister, and se...

angel - correct spelling

angel nounNot angle.Example: An angel watches over the small baby at night....

angle - correct spelling

angle noun and verbNot angel.Example: He parked at an angle...

annual - correct spelling

annual adjectiveExample: We need to study General Motors’ annual report....

anoint - correct spelling

anoint verbExample: The nurse tried to anoint the patient’s sores with a cream. ...

another - correct spelling

another pronoun and adjectiveExample: The beer was flat, so he opened another. pronoun...

answer - correct spelling

answer noun and verbExample: Please send me your answer soon. nounExample: She had...

antecedent

A pronoun takes the place of a noun. When writing, you'll use a pronoun and that pronoun will refer to some noun close by. That noun (the referent) is called the antecedent. The prefix ante...

Antecedents - Number and Gender

Pronoun AgreementYou must use a plural pronoun to refer to a plural noun, a singular pronoun to refer to a singular noun. This rule is called agreement in number. Thus: The young women...

Antecedents - Placement of Pronouns

Before we discuss the other types of pronouns, let’s pause and discuss the concept of pronoun antecedents.When you use a pronoun, it will typically refer to a word somewhere close by. That is, the noun the pronoun replaces sits somewhere in t...

antediluvian - vocabulary

antediluvian - adjective Of or pertaining to the times, things, events before the great flood in the days of Noah; something old-fashioned, antiquated, out-of-date. “And is it true th...

antiseptic - correct spelling

antiseptic noun and adjectiveExample: To heal the abrasion, the doctor applied an antiseptic. noun...

anxious - correct spelling

anxious adjectiveNote: In formal settings, refrain from using anxious to mean eager.Example: The anxious...

Anyone vs. Any one

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between anyone and any one? Consider the sentences bel...

apartment - correct spelling

apartment nounExample: She rented an expensive apartment in Manhattan....

aphorism - vocabulary

aphorism - noun A terse saying that embodies a general truth, as in (with apologies to Lord Acton) Power corrupts and Power Point corrupts absolutely.Note: In The World in a Phrase...

apologize - correct spelling

apologize verbExample: He should apologize to the voters....

Apologize vs. Apologise

If the athlete wants to rejoin the team, he must apologise for his poor attitude. ...

apology - correct spelling

apology nounExample: He offered his apology for his failure to increase sales....

apostasy, apostate - vocabulary

apostasy, apostate - noun Apostasy: a total departure from one’s religious, political, or personal beliefs and principles.Apostate: a person who...

Apostrophes Form a Narrow Class of Plurals

Use "apostrophe ‑s" to form plurals only when absolutely necessary. Use just an ‑s (or ‑es) to form the plurals of dates, acronyms, and families: She longed for the 1960s. The inves...

Apostrophes Form Contractions

Use the apostrophe to form contractions. Though contractions rarely show up in formal writing, a well-placed one now and then can have a positive effect. I use them all the time (you've probably noticed): can't won't ...

apparatus - correct spelling

apparatus nounPlural, either apparatus or apparatuses.Example: The apparatus of government in that country has totally br...

apparent - correct spelling

apparent adjectiveExample: She was fired for no apparent reason....

appear - correct spelling

appear verbExample: A new flu strain will appear next winter....

appearance - correct spelling

appearance nounExample: The attorney plans to make an appearance in the case....

appetite - correct spelling

appetite nounExample: The escargot should whet your appetite....

application - correct spelling

application nounExample: She submitted her application to college....

apply - correct spelling

apply verbExample: She must apply for a college loan....

apposite - vocabulary

apposite - adjective Appropriate, well-suited, apt, relevant, suitable. The opposite is inapposite, often used by lawyers to put down opponents’ arguments. Like most writers,...

appositive

An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that defines or restates another noun (or pronoun). Generally, the appositive follows the word it defines, as in My friend, Susan...

Appraise vs. Apprise

Keep me apprised...

appraise, apprise

Appraise means “to evaluate or estimate the value of something.”Apprise means “to give notice” or “to inform.”Example: After he appraised the house,...

appreciate - correct spelling

appreciate verbExample: Surely you can appreciate the gravity of the situation.Example: The art collection will ...

appreciation - correct spelling

appreciation nounExample: The letter expressed her appreciation....

approach - correct spelling

approach verb and nounExample: This approach will solve the problem. nounExample: ...

approbation - vocabulary

approbation - noun Approval, commendation, official sanction. Superstars strive for approbation; heroes walk alone. Superstars crave consensus; heroes define themselves by...

appropriate - correct spelling

appropriate adjective and verbExample: A blue suit is appropriate dress for the interview. adjective...

approval - correct spelling

approval nounExample: She sought her boss’s approval for the new ad campaign....

approve - correct spelling

approve verbExample: The CEO will approve the proposed new product....

approximate - correct spelling

approximate adjective and verbExample: She gave an approximate date for completion of the project. ad...

apt, likely, liable

Writers often use apt, likely, and liable interchangeably in constructions, especially with infinitives: ...

arctic - correct spelling

arctic noun (capitalized when referring to regions of the North Pole) and adjectiveExample: We expect an arctic winter. ...

argue - correct spelling

argue verbExample: It’s best not to argue with your superior....

arguing - correct spelling

arguing verb (present participle of the verb argue)Example: The teenager was arguing with his parents....

argument - correct spelling

argument nounNot arguement.Example: The attorney’s argument persuaded the court....

Armour vs. Armor

Most people who are into Western media have read books or watched movies about a time, centuries past, when knights went to battle, clad in shiny metal uniforms meant to protect them from the murderous blades and arrows of their ...

arouse - correct spelling

arouse verbExample: This behavior will arouse suspicion....

arrange - correct spelling

arrange verbExample: The florist will arrange the flowers....

arrangement - correct spelling

arrangement nounExample: The couple had an arrangement that seemed to work....

arrogate - vocabulary

arrogate - verb To take, demand, or claim, especially presumptuously or without reasons or grounds. This second source of men, while yet but few, . . . Shall lead their lives, and multiply...

Artefact vs. Artifact

While exploring ancient ruins and forgotten temples, archaeologists and adventures love to stumble upon reli...

article

We have three articles in the English language: a, an, and the. The words a and an are indefinite articles, the word is a definite art...

article - correct spelling

article nounExample: She wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal.Example: The ...

artificial - correct spelling

artificial adjectiveExample: The soldier went back to war with an artificial limb....

As Far As

As Far As Success …Many smart people flub the use of the subordinating conjunction as far as. Keep in mind that the expression serves as a subordinating conjunction. That is, it joins a clause. What must be ...

as far as

Many writers botch the use of the expression as far as. It serves as a subordinating conjunction. Therefore, it must be followed by a ...

as per

Many people start off letters with as per your request and similar fluff.For many years, standard texts on writing have condemned this wordy and pompous expression: This hybrid is inexcusable. Instead...

as well as

See coupled with, as well as, along with, together with, not to mention....

as, because, since, for

We have several words showing causation: as, because, since, for. Be careful in your use of as to show a causal connecti...

as, like

Back in the olden days, when tobacco companies advertised on TV, Winston used the slogan: Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. In that sentence, the word like acts a...

ascend - correct spelling

ascend verbExample: She will ascend to upper management....

ascetic - vocabulary

ascetic - adjective Given to severe self-denial and practicing excessive abstinence and devotion. Hester sought not to acquire anything beyond a subsistence, of the plainest and most ...

askance - vocabulary

askance - adverb Usually describes the act of looking or glancing; with suspicion or mistrust, as in He looked askance at his boss, who seemed to bring bad tidings. “Do you supp...

Assent vs. Ascent vs. Accent

He assented to d...

assiduous - vocabulary

assiduous - adjective Constant or unremitting activity, as in assiduous exercise; constant in application or effort; diligent or persevering, as in an assiduous medical student. ...

assistance - correct spelling

assistance nounExample: Let me give you some assistance....

assistant - correct spelling

assistant nounExample: He served as the CEO’s assistant....

associate - correct spelling

associate noun and verbExample: She is a new associate with the law firm. nounExample: ...

association - correct spelling

association nounExample: This trade association lobbied for the bill....

assuage - vocabulary

assuage - verb To cause to be less harsh, severe, or violent, usually in reference to appetite, pain, disease, or excitement, as in She assuaged the pain of her terminally ill patient. ...

Assume vs. Presume

There are a lot of tricky words in English, and it’s hard to keep track of them all. The two words presume v...

Assure vs. Ensure vs. Insure

The heading might give the creeps for if you might ...

astringent - vocabulary

astringent - noun A substance that contracts canals or tissues in the body; in cosmetics, a substance that cleans the skin and constricts the pores.adjectiveHarsh ...

ate - correct spelling

ate verb (past tense of the verb eat)Example: He ate a nutritious breakfast....

atheist - correct spelling

atheist nounExample: The atheist objected to the Pledge of Allegiance....

athletic - correct spelling

athletic adjective and noun (athletics)Example: He excelled in athletic activities. adjectiv...

attempt - correct spelling

attempt noun and verbExample: The doctor will attempt to reattach the severed finger. verbE...

attendance - correct spelling

attendance nounExample: Your attendance at the writing course will improve your skills....

attention - correct spelling

attention nounExample: Give the teacher your full attention....

Attorney vs. Lawyer

If you are sued for gross negligence by someone who was injured as a result of your careless actions, who wi...

audacious - vocabulary

audacious - adjective Fearless, bold, daring, as in an audacious explorer; extremely original or inventive, as in his audacious vision for improving the tax laws. Th...

audience - correct spelling

audience nounExample: The audience eagerly awaited the rock star....

augur - vocabulary

augur - verb Note: Used as either a transitive verb (where the verb requires an object) or an ...

August - correct spelling

August proper nounExample: She was born in August....

author - correct spelling

author noun and verbExample: The author signed books at Barnes & Noble. nounExample: ...

automobile - correct spelling

automobile nounExample: Her problems with her automobile prompted her to call Car Talk....

autumn - correct spelling

autumn nounExample: The oil drilling will begin in the autumn....

auxiliary - correct spelling

auxiliary adjective and nounExample: Our auxiliary power system helped us survive the storm. adjectiv...

auxiliary verb

When you conjugate a one-word verb, you can form the present tense (he decides) and the past tense (he decided) with just one verb word. But when yo...

Auxiliary Verbs - Called “Helping Verbs”

Some people refer to auxiliary verbs as helping verbs.The main verbs we use in the English language break down into the four major verb types:1. action transitive verbs 2. action intransitive verbs 3. the verb to be ...

available - correct spelling

available adjectiveExample: We have some available funds for the investment....

avarice - vocabulary

avarice - noun An unquenchable desire for riches; a miserly desire. By avarice and selfishness, and a groveling habit, from which none of us is free, of regarding the soil...

avenue - correct spelling

avenue nounExample: She watched him stroll down the avenue....

aver - vocabulary

aver - verb To assert or affirm with confidence; to declare in a preemptory or positive manner. In law, to allege something as a fact, often followed by a that clause, as in The plaintiff ave...

averse - vocabulary

averse - adjective Strongly disinclined, a strong feeling of opposition, as in She was averse to taking the risk.Note: Often used with the negative not, as ...

awake, awaken, wake, waken

These words often trip up writers and speakers. All four of them have similar meanings, though some have usages the others cannot perform. Let’s start with some with unique features.Only wake can appear in expression...

awful - correct spelling

awful adjective and adverbNote: Some people object to the use of awful or awfully as adverbial intensifiers, but these forms appeared in the early 19th...

awhile - correct spelling

awhile adverbNot a while (a noun form).See Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words. ...

awkward - correct spelling

awkward adjectiveExample: The awkward teenager managed to survive the ordeal....

Axe vs. Ax

Sometimes, words are spelled differently in British and American English, even if the words’ meanings don’t ...

axle - correct spelling

axle nounNot axel.Example: The front axle on the car was defective....

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