Found 292 articles starting with C:

cabal - vocabulary

cabal - verb To hatch a scheme, to plot.nounA small group of plotters who hatch a scheme against the government or persons in authority. The word also refers to the sch...

cacophony - vocabulary

cacophony - noun A harsh and discordant sound; a meaningless mixture of sounds. Poets who know no better rhapsodize about the peace of nature, but a well-populated marsh is a cacop...

Caesar - correct spelling

Caesarproper nounExample: Julius Caesar was emperor of Rome and died on March 15 in 44 B.C. when he was murdered by a group led by Cassius ...

cafeteria - correct spelling

cafeterianounExample: The committee met in the cafeteria....

calculator - correct spelling

calculatornounExample: Students may not use a calculator in math class....

calendar - correct spelling

calendarnounExample: Mark down this date on your calendar....

Calfs vs. Calves

Some English words form plurals easily. Words like rock, tree, and riverbed can be made plural by adding an ...

calumny - vocabulary

calumny - noun A false and misleading statement designed to destroy the reputation of someone or something; the act of uttering calumnies. It is harder to kill a whisper than even a shoute...

camouflage - correct spelling

camouflagenoun, verb, and adjectiveExample: The soldier wore camouflage to hide in the bushes....

campaign - correct spelling

campaignnoun and verbExample: He ran a brilliant campaign for the Senate. nounExamp...

can, may

Both words are auxiliary verbs.Our teachers in high school insisted that can expresses ability and that may grants permission. But child...

Canceled vs. Cancelled

There’s no doubt that those of us who live in a snowy area are familiar with these two words. Each and every...

Cancelled vs. Canceled

A student’s best friend and a party lover’s worst enemy, cancel, has two possible forms of past tense, cancelled/canceled. Consider this: The English class has been cancelled...

candidate - correct spelling

candidatenounExample: The candidate tried to cover up her indiscretion....

cannot, can not, cannot but

Use one word, not two. Thus: cannot.Can’t is the contracted form of cannot, meaning the negative of can. In formal writing, it is...

Canon vs. Cannon

Do you ever wonder how much difference one single letter in a word in English language? Embrace yourself! Canon and cannon are two different words with entirely different meanings. One is a law while the other one is a weapon. In this article we ...

cant - vocabulary

cant - verb To talk in a singsong, preaching, whining tone; to speak tediously with affected solemnity.nounMonotonous speech crammed with platitudes; the special vocabu...

cantaloupe - correct spelling

cantaloupenounExample: He added salt to his slice of cantaloupe....

capital - correct spelling

capitalnoun and adjectiveNot capitol (the building).Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses ca...

Capital vs. Capitol

The legislators ...

capitol - correct spelling

capitolnoun (capitalized when referring to the building inWashington)Not capital (the city, plus other meanings).Grammar.com’s secti...

capitol, capital, capital (money)

The word capitol should be used only to describe an actual governmental building. (My fourth-grade teacher taught us that the building is spelled with an “o” as in “dome,” something that most capitols...

captain - correct spelling

captainnoun and verbExample: “O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done ….” —Walt Whitman. nounExample: He served as ...

captious - vocabulary

captious - adjective One who finds fault, is difficult to please; designed to perplex or confuse, as in captious questions. Pat Oliphant's cartoon is notable because of the c...

Caramel vs. Carmel

There are many delicious desserts and drinks that feature the taste of a familiar sweet treat. Most people k...

carburetor - correct spelling

carburetornounExample: The carburetor in the car was clogged....

career - correct spelling

careernounExample: She sought a career in medicine....

careful - correct spelling

carefuladjectiveExample: Be careful when you cross the street....

careless - correct spelling

carelessadjectiveExample: He was careless with the company’s money....

Caribbean - correct spelling

Caribbeannoun and adjectiveExample: He celebrated his 60th birthday in the Caribbean. noun...

caricature - vocabulary

caricature - noun A picture or depiction that ludicrously exaggerates the features or defects of persons or things. The most perfect caricature is that which, on a small s...

carriage - correct spelling

carriagenounExample: They rode in a horse-drawn carriage in their wedding ceremony....

carrying - correct spelling

carryingverb (present participle of the verb carry) and adjectiveExample: The thief was ...

cartilage - correct spelling

cartilagenounExample: He tore the cartilage in his knee....

case

We have seven kinds of pronouns in the English language (personal pronouns, reflexive and intensive pronouns, relative pron...

Case - Subjective, Objective, Possessive

Pronoun Case - Watch OutRemember the section on nouns? Remember those nuggets of information we tucked away for the future? Remember those paragraphs mentioning the case of pronouns? Well, the future is now.1. Pronoun...

Case of Pronouns - The Rule

In formal settings, you must follow the rules governing the case of pronouns.If your sentence calls for the subjective case, you must use I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they (see the subjective-case columns in the two...

Cash vs. Cache

English is a complicated language. There are some words in English that sound exactly the same but have different spellings and meanings. These words are called homophones and they are a cause of confusion for many young learners...

castigate - vocabulary

castigate - verb To criticize harshly; to punish for the purpose of correcting; to reprimand severely. How can you support a policy of racial preferences and then attack one of its suppose...

castle - correct spelling

castlenoun and verbExample: He’s the king of the castle. nounExample: The ...

Catalog vs. Catalogue

As you read English, you will notice that some words can be spelled multiple ways. Catalogue, for instance, ...

category - correct spelling

categorynounExample: This category of plants likes the shade....

Cavalry vs. Calvary

As with so many other similar sounding English words, calvary vs. cavalry often get mixed up in people’s wri...

ceiling - correct spelling

ceilingnounExample: The women ignored the so-called glass ceiling and moved resolutely to the top....

cemetery - correct spelling

cemeterynounNot cemetary.Example: The mourners gathered in the cemetery....

Censure vs. Censor vs. Sensor

The government f...

Center vs. Centre

Spelling differences between American and British English have confused writers for centuries. Center and ce...

cents - correct spelling

centsnoun (plural of the noun cent)Note: In Southern vernacular, the word cent also serves as the plural.Example: ...

cereal - correct spelling

cerealnoun and adjectiveExample: He ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast. nounEx...

certain - correct spelling

certainadjective and pronounExample: I am certain she will come to dinner. adjective...

Certainly vs. Definitely

English is quite a confusing language when it comes to certain words which have very similar meanings and ma...

chagrin - vocabulary

chagrin - verb To vex by disappointment or humiliation, as in The defeat chagrined him deeply.nounA feeling of vexation; disappointment or humiliation. ...

challenge - correct spelling

challengenoun and verbExample: The contributors accepted his challenge to raise a million dollars. noun...

changeable - correct spelling

changeableadjectiveExample: We are quite accustomed to changeable weather patterns....

changing - correct spelling

changingverb (present participle of the verb change)Example: She was changing her clothes when the phone rang....

Chapter 1 - Period

IntroductionThe period shows the end of a complete sentence, the abbreviation of words, and indented lists. It also appears inside closing quotation marks. ...

Chapter 1 - Subject-Verb Disagreement

“There’s lots of these mistakes.”Way too many people have forgotten the rule: A subject must agree with its verb in number. A singular subject demands a singular verb. A plural subject demands a plural verb. Writers risk thei...

Chapter 10 - Hyphen

IntroductionThe hyphen is one of the most underused, one of the most incorrectly used, and one of the most important punctuation marks in writing.It plays a role in showing ranges of numbers. It often incorrectly appe...

Chapter 10 - “Lead” vs. “Led”

“Yesterday, they lead us astray.”Here’s a quickie. Read on to learn that led is the correct word.Lead vs. Led: An OverviewMany writ...

Chapter 11 - Apostrophe

The apostrophe is used to show (1) possessives of nouns and some pronouns, (2) contractions, and (3) some plurals.Possessives of Singular Nouns Use an "apostrophe ‑s" to form the possessive o...

Chapter 11 - “Principle” vs. “Principal”

“Here’s the principle reason he flunked the course.”Many writers use the “my principal is my pal” trick to help distinguish between principal and principle. But that trick fails to cover the many different m...

Chapter 12 - Quotation Marks

IntroductionBefore we get to the use of quotation marks to show direct quotation, let's look briefly at some special uses of the mark.Irony or Sarcasm In speech, you'll often ...

Chapter 12 - “Bring” vs. “Take"

“Bring along this advice when you go to work.”I wish the writers of the Seinfeld series paid attention to the differences between bring and take. For hundreds of episodes, they routinely used br...

Chapter 13 - The “Like” Word

“Like, I’mlike gonna learn how to like talk.”If you have a “like” habit, the time has come: Break it. Many people cannot make it through a single sentence without scores of “I’m like” and “She was like” and “She’s all . . . ....

Chapter 2 - Comma

IntroductionThe comma shows the smallest interruption of the structure of a sentence—the parenthesis and dash showing more severe breaks in continuity. A few rules, discussed below, have become obligatory. Otherwise, writers ...

Chapter 2 - “Could of”

“We could of used the right helping verb.”We understand where this mistake came from. It came from speech. The word “have” when joined with “could” to form “could have” sounds a lot like “could of.” The latter, of course, is ...

Chapter 3 - Semicolon

IntroductionTop writers do not use the semicolon as much today as they did in the past. As a matter of style, you should try to avoid using too many sentences consisting of two independent clauses joined by a semicolon. The m...

Chapter 3 - “Your” and “You’re”

“Your leaving out the word are.”Anyone who has ever joined a “thread” on the Internet has seen this mistake a thousand times. Of course, making the mistake on the Internet won’t harm your career, but if “your” instea...

Chapter 4 - Case of Pronouns

“You and him confuse the case of pronouns.”In this chapter, you’ll find a table showing all the personal pronouns in their various cases and numbers. We urge you to commit it to memory. Misuse of pronoun case marks one as int...

Chapter 4 - Colon

The colon joins two independent clauses (compound sentence), introduces lists, and sets up quotations. Previous: Semicolons with Quotation Marks ...

Chapter 5 - Dash

Functions of the DashThe dash is one of the most effective punctuation marks of all. It can halt readers in their tracks—it makes them pay attention—as they read through your words of wisdom. Basically, the dash creates the b...

Chapter 5 - Subjunctive Mood

“If I was you, I’d learn the subjunctive mood.”In this chapter, you’ll find that even best-selling novelists have trouble with the subjunctive mood. It pays to know the meaning of mood and to use the various moods—especially ...

Chapter 6 - Dangling Participles

“When writing, your participle might dangle.”Here’s a biggie. Many highly educated people write sentences with dangling participles in them. Careful and knowledgeable readers—as in your boss or professor—know all about dangle...

Chapter 6 - Parentheses

IntroductionParentheses, like commas and dashes, may be used to set off amplifying, explanatory, or digressive elements. If the parenthetical elements bear a close logical relationship to the rest of the sentence, use commas....

Chapter 7 - Brackets

IntroductionBrackets are used to enclose editorial interpolations, corrections, explanations, or comments in quoted material.SicResist the temptation to use ...

Chapter 7 - “There,” “Their,” “They’re”

“Their mixing up they’re theres.” I included this chapter at the request of my son. He says that everyone in his company confuses these three words. So I wrote the chapter and emailed it to him, and he forwarded it t...

Chapter 8 - Question Mark

IntroductionIn creative writing, the question mark shows up all the time. In expository writing, question marks do appear—often as mistakes.The question mark serves a variety of roles.Ask a Question...

Chapter 8 - “Affect” vs. “Effect”

“Bad habits will effect your writing.”There are huge differences between the words affect and effect. Good writers know these differences and use the words correctly. Now you can, too.Aff...

Chapter 9 - Exclamation Point

IntroductionUse the exclamation point to shout. And don't shout much at all in expository writing. Let your prose show your emphasis: The Supreme Court flatly ruled against us! When 9...

Chapter 9 - “It’s” vs. “Its”

“Should you take out it’s apostrophe?”Hardly a day goes by without my seeing the use of its when the writer means it’s. Or it’s when the writer means its. The two expressions differ dramati...

characteristic - correct spelling

characteristicadjective and nounExample: We enjoyed his characteristic laugh. adjective...

charity - correct spelling

charitynounExample: “Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.” —Charles Dickens....

charlatan - vocabulary

charlatan - noun A person pretending to have more knowledge or skill than he or she actually possesses; a quack; a flamboyant deceiver. There is hardly any mental misery worse than that of having our own s...

Chart Showing Various Uses

Learn the various ways the word there can act in our language. Word Function...

chauvinism - correct spelling

chauvinismnounNot chauvanism.Example: The patriot’s chauvinism ignited the crowd of believers....

Cheap vs. Cheep

Cheap vs. Cheep Cheap and cheep both sound same but their meanings are entirely different. The words with similar sounds but different meaning and spellings are known as homophones. Homophones are misused and often mistaken for each other whil...

Check vs. Cheque

One of the unintended consequences of the fiercely independent American ideology is that sometimes Americans...

Check-in vs. Check in

Some words can be used as multiple parts of speech. Check, for instance, has several senses as both a noun a...

Checkout

[download_checkout]...

Checkout

[shoppingcart]...

chief - correct spelling

chiefnoun and adjectiveExample: The chief of police launched the investigation. noun...

chili - correct spelling

chilinounExample: We washed down his award-winning chili with cold beer....

chocolaty - correct spelling

chocolatyadjectiveNot chocolatey.Example: The chocolaty drink delighted the children....

Choir vs. Chorus

Several types of groups can perform music, from solo electronic DJs, to pipe bands, to philharmonic orchestr...

choose - correct spelling

chooseverbNot chose.Note: The verb to choose uses choose in various tenses, e.g., She will choose...

Chord vs. Cord

English homophones are some of the most difficult words to differentiate from one another. Even if you use a...

chose - correct spelling

choseverb (past tense of the verb choose; chosen is the past participle)Not ...

chose, choose

The word chose is the past tense of the verb choose. Often, writers will incorrectly spell choose...

Chronic vs. Acute

As we age, our bodies start to wear out, and we start to have a variety of medical problems. These problems ...

cigarette - correct spelling

cigarettenounExample: Please go outside to smoke the cigarette....

circumlocution - vocabulary

circumlocution - noun A roundabout way of speaking, usually using more words than necessary; evasion in speech or writing. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution...

circumscribe - vocabulary

circumscribe - verb To draw a line around, to encircle, as in to circumscribe a village on a map; to enclose with bounds, to delimit, as in His ambition is circumscribed by his lack of drive ...

circumspect - vocabulary

circumspect - adjective Watchful, discreet, cautious, prudent, as in a circumspect investment strategy. I smiled, I waited, I was circumspect; O never, never...

circumstance - correct spelling

circumstancenounExample: We must consider every circumstance before making our decision....

citizen - correct spelling

citizennounExample: She taught her child to be a good citizen....

clause

A clause is a group of words with a conjugated verb in it. Clauses come in two types: (1) independent and (2) dependent. An independent clause is a full sent...

climactic, climatic

Climactic relates to the word climax as in “the climactic scene” of a movie.Climatic relates to the weather as in “climatic condi...

climbed - correct spelling

climbedverb (past tense and past participle of the verb climb)Example: This song ...

cloth - correct spelling

clothnoun (plural cloths) and adjectiveGrammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses cloths and clothes. ...

Cloth vs. Clothes

Sometimes, the materials used to make a product have similar names to the end product itself. This is the ca...

clothes - correct spelling

clothesnounGrammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses cloths and clothes. Click here for that discussion.Examp...

clothes, cloths

Clothes are something you wear. Cloths are the bolts of fabric that might ultimately become your clothes. Cloth can be used to describe a very cha...

clothing - correct spelling

clothingnoun and verb (present participle of the verb clothe)Example: He wore expensive ...

coarse - correct spelling

coarseadjectiveNot course.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses coarse and course. ...

Coarse vs. Course

English contains many homophones, that is to say, many words which sound alike when spoken, but retain diffe...

coarse, course

Coarse means “common,” “rough,” or “vulgar.” Course implies movement over time or over a predetermined route. The phrases “in due course,” “matter of course...

coffee - correct spelling

coffeenounExample: Let’s go to Starbucks for a cup of coffee....

cogent - vocabulary

cogent - adjective Incisive, analytical, convincing, believable because of a forcible and clear presentation. [C]ider-apples furnish one of the most cogent arguments ...

cognizant - vocabulary

cognizant - adjective Fully informed, aware, conscious.Note: Usually followed by the preposition of, as in He was cognizant of the dangers. ...

coliseum - correct spelling

coliseumnounAlso colosseum.Not colliseum.Example: The opera singer's performance filled the coliseum to c...

Collaborate vs. Corroborate

If you are having a hard time deciding when to use the commonly confused words, collaborate and corroborate, you are not the only one. ...

Collaborate vs. Corroborate

When you work together with people toward a shared goal, are you corroborating with them, or collaborating w...

collect - correct spelling

collectverbExample: The clerk of the court will collect the fines. ...

collectible - correct spelling

collectiblenoun and adjectiveNote: Some dictionaries indicate collectable as an acceptable spelling.Example: An old gold coin is ...

collective noun

A collective noun, also called a group noun, refers to a group of persons or things. Examples include group, number, majority, team, and many others.In American English, when individual members of ...

college - correct spelling

collegenounExample: He worked hard to send his children to college....

colloquialism, colloquial - vocabulary

colloquialism, colloquial - noun Colloquialism: an ordinary or familiar expression; familiar style or usage.adjectiveColloqui...

Colon and Independent Clauses

Colon Acts like a PeriodMany writers use the colon between two independent clauses, especially when the subject matter of the second clause expands on, or exemplifies, the subject matter of the first. Some writers start the s...

Colon Goes Outside

The colon should be placed outside quotation marks. When the quoted matter ends with a colon, the colon is dropped. The employee has two objections to the practice of "early retirement": He wants to continue ...

colonel - correct spelling

colonelnounExample: The Air Force colonel welcomed the new recruits....

Colonize vs. Colonise

The Greeks colonized Sicily and southern Italy. Our organization is seeking to protect the rights of the newly ...

Colons with Quotation Marks

Colon Comes OutsideThe colon should be placed outside quotation marks. When matter ending with a colon is quoted, the colon is dropped: The employee has two objections to the practice...

column - correct spelling

columnnounExample: The bird nested in the white column on the building.Example: She writes a ...

Coma vs. Comma

Have you ever been confused by two words which are spelled nearly the same, but have different meanings? Com...

Combining Various Parts of Speech

You will also form compound adjectives by combining various parts of speech. Here's the way hyphenation works: Combining   Parts of Speec...

comedy - correct spelling

comedynounExample: Seinfeld was a comedy about relationships and life in New York....

comfortable - correct spelling

comfortableadjectiveExample: He reclined on the comfortable sofa to watch the football game....

coming - correct spelling

comingverb (present participle of the verb come), noun, and adjectiveExample: She is ...

Comma Goes Inside

The comma goes inside the closing quotations marks. According to the editor, writers make mistakes in "quoting from research sources," "using too many quotations," and "putting punctuation marks in th...

Commas and Coordinate Adjectives

Long, Hot SummerWhen each of two adjectives modifies the same noun, put a comma between them. As a test, put the word and between the two adjectives. If it fits, then the adjectives are called coordinate adjectiv...

Commas and Elliptical Expressions

Use a CommaUse a comma to show the omission of a word or words readily understood from context: In Illinois, there are seventeen such institutions; in Ohio, twenty-two; in ...

Commas and Independent Clauses

Comma Before the andWhen the conjunction joins two or more independent clauses, put a comma before the conjunction: The supervisor reported the misbehavior, but the personnel committe...

Commas and Introductory Clauses or Phrases

You should put a comma after an introductory clause or phrase: Though the agency had studied this issue before, it went ahead with another study. (Introductory dependent clause.)If I were you,...

Commas and Noun Appositives

Appositive with CommasA word, phrase, or clause in apposition to a noun is usually set off by commas (dashes or parentheses might also be used): The chairman of the committee, Senator ...

Commas with Quotation Marks

Comma Goes InsideWhen the context calls for a comma at the end of material enclosed in quotation marks, the comma should be placed inside the quotation marks: We should study the report on "discrimination in t...

commemorate - correct spelling

commemorateverbExample: The town wanted to commemorate the war hero....

commission - correct spelling

commissionnoun and verbExample: The real-estate agent worked hard for her commission. noun...

commitment - correct spelling

commitmentnounExample: He made a significant commitment to his community by promising to send every child to college....

committed - correct spelling

committedverb (past tense and past participle of the verb commit)Example: He com...

committee - correct spelling

committeenounExample: He detested the interminable meetings of the committee....

Common Grammatical Mistakes

We have broken some of the longer topics into multiple pages. So watch for references to “Pages 1-2-3” at the bottom of the topic. Click the next page number to continue reading.Please note: You may download this entire s...

Common Traps to Avoid

The English language can lay many traps for unwary writers, who can embarrass themselves by using a plural verb with a singular subject (more common) or a singular verb with a plural subject (less common). Once you understand the most common traps, h...

communicate - correct spelling

communicateverbExample: We will communicate with you next week and close the deal then....

company - correct spelling

companynounExample: She is always good company.Example: She started a successful ...

comparative - correct spelling

comparativeadjective and noun (grammatical term)Example: He has a comparative advantage because of his vast experi...

comparative state

Modifiers—adjectives and adverbs—attribute qualities to nouns and verbs. When the modifier shows a greater quality, it appears in the comparative state.Usually, for adjectives, you form ...

compel - correct spelling

compelverbThe past tense and past participle are spelled compelled.Example: ...

competent - correct spelling

competentadjectiveExample: He served as a competent administrator in the school system....

competition - correct spelling

competitionnounExample: She relishes the competition of the other companies....

Complaisant vs. Complacent

John is a compla...

complement

A complement is a word or group of words that completes the action or state of being expressed by the verb. A subject complement typically follows the verb to be ...

complement - correct spelling

complementverb and nounNot compliment.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses complement...

complement verb

A complement verb, or phrasal verb, comprises a verb and a preposition. We have hundreds of them in the English language: dredge up, drop out, make up, mess up, screw up, and the list goes on and ...

complement, compliment - vocabulary

complement, compliment - verb Complement: to complete, to add to something, to provide something felt to be lacking, as in The two books complemented each other and provided ...

Complementary or Antithetical Expressions

DefinedA complementary or antithetical expression requires a comma at its beginning and end. Perhaps I should define complementary or antithetical expressions. These are usually groups of words complementing or contr...

completely - correct spelling

completelyadverbGrammar.com's section on the Parts of Speech discusses the demise of -ly adverbs. Click here for ...

complex sentence

A complex sentence comprises one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. The dependent clause, which cannot stand by itself as a sentence, performs some grammatical funct...

compliment - correct spelling

complimentverb and nounNot complement.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses complement...

Compliment vs. Complement

The words compliment and complement sound exactly same but their meanings are totallydifferent. Here are some everyday examples that will help you in better understanding of boththe words.She c...

compliment, complement

A compliment is a statement of praise or good wishes. A complement is something that goes well with another or completes it. In these meanings, the words act as nouns...

comport - vocabulary

comport - verb To conduct or behave (oneself), as in He comported himself with dignity; to be in agreement with (usually followed by with), as in Our policy must comport with the pri...

compound adjective

A compound adjective comprises two or more words. The unit formed then serves as an adjective. These are also called phrasal adjectives. The vast majority of writers have no clue about spelling these structures. As a general rule, you should...

Compound Adjectives

Hyphens in Compound AdjectivesThe English language is remarkably versatile, for it allows us to make up words and expressions that don’t otherwise appear in the dictionary. One type of expression we frequently invent is the c...

Compound Adjectives - A Long List

Here, for your reference, is a long list of the most frequently encountered types of compound adjectives and the rules on hyphenation. When in doubt, always check the dictionary. ...

Compound Adjectives - Decision to Hyphenate

Facilitate ReadingWe hyphenate words to facilitate reading and prevent ambiguity. For example, one rule says to hyphenate adjectives formed by a noun plus an -ing verb when it comes before the noun. Thus: ...

Compound Adjectives and -ly Adverbs

Never HyphenatedAlso pay special attention to compounds formed with an adverb ending in ‑ly followed by a past participle, present participle, or other adjective. These compounds are never hyphenated: ...

compound predicate

A compound predicate is simply two or more main verbs attached to a single subject of the sentence. Please note: When you join just two verbs, no comma should come before the and. Only when you join three or more ele...

compound sentence

A compound sentence comprises two or more independent clauses. You may join these clauses by using one of the seven coordinating conjunctions: but, or, yet, for, and, nor, ...

compound verb

A compound verb is a multiword verb form consisting of one or more auxiliary verbs and a main verb, as in I have seen the movie, She has gone home, ...

comprise - vocabulary

comprise - verb To include, contain, consist of.Note: Correct, and traditional usage, requires the use of comprise in a way whereby the whole comprises the parts...

comprise, constitute, compose

Comprise means “to be composed of” or “to contain.” Constitute means “to be one of the parts of” something. You could say that the parts constitute the whole and the whole ...

compunction - vocabulary

compunction - noun A feeling of anxiety or discomfort caused by regret for doing wrong or causing pain; contrition; remorse; any uneasiness or hesitation about the rightness of an action. ...

Comradery vs. Camaraderie

English borrows heavily from other languages, and the Romantic languages are no exceptions. Many English wor...

conceal - correct spelling

concealverbExample: The CFO sought to conceal the company’s losses....

concede - correct spelling

concedeverbExample: On election night, she will concede the race....

conceit - correct spelling

conceitnounExample: His conceit was apparent in the way he held his nose in the air.See ...

conceited - correct spelling

conceitedadjectiveSee conceit.Example: His conceited attitude dismayed...

conceivable - correct spelling

conceivableadjectiveExample: A cure to cancer remains conceivable....

conceive - correct spelling

conceiveverbExample: He conceived the invention in his garage.Example: She ...

concentration - correct spelling

concentrationnounExample: Studying our language requires careful concentration....

conception - correct spelling

conceptionnounExample: The business has suffered since its conception in 2005.Example: After her ...

Conclusion to the Parts of Speech

We hope you have enjoyed and profited from Grammar.com’s discussion of the parts of speech in the English language. We’ve tried to cover what you need to know to expand your knowledge of the language. We firmly believe that improving your writing nec...

Conclusion to the Section on Grammatical Mistakes

We hope you have enjoyed, and profited from, this discussion on common grammatical mistakes. If you have, we hope you’ll tell your friends about Grammar.com.You can download this entire discussion as the eBook ...

Conclusion to the Section on Punctuation

We hope you have enjoyed, and profited from, this discussion on the rules of punctuation. If you have, we hope you’ll tell your friends about Grammar.com.We hope you’ll use o...

condemn - correct spelling

condemnverbExample: The judge will condemn the defendant to life in prison.Example: The government will ...

condescend - correct spelling

condescendverbExample: He refused to condescend to the uninformed views of the board....

condescend - vocabulary

condescend -verb Three meanings:1. To behave as if conscious of descending from a superior position, rank, or dignity, as in The wealthy art patron, seemingly put upon, condescended...

condition - correct spelling

conditionnoun and verbExample: The contract contained a condition allowing us to escape liability. noun...

Conditional Structures of Verbs

The Conditionals: If p, then qIn the English language, we often express conditions. Naturally, Miss Hamrick, Amber, and Igor dreamed up some rules to govern how we form these structures. We have four types o...

conference - correct spelling

conferencenounExample: The politician called a news conference.Example: The professor and students held a ...

confident - correct spelling

confidentadjectiveExample: Her confident demeanor belied her lack of preparation....

congratulate - correct spelling

congratulateverbSee congratulations.Example: We c...

congratulations - correct spelling

congratulationsnounSee congratulate.Example: We offer you our warmest co...

Conjugating in the Progressive Aspect

The progressive tenses show an ongoing action. Some grammarians call the progressive tense the progressive aspect. So let's learn the tricks of conjugating in the progressive aspect.Once Amber and Igor learned all about the verb ...

Conjugating Irregular Verbs

Our grades plummeted when we had to conjugate irregular verbs in Miss Hamrick’s class. There was no way to figure out a scheme or system that would explain the necessary forms of irregular verbs, that is, the past tense and the past participle. For m...

Conjugating Regular Verbs

Conjugating Regular Verbs - ChartsHere are completed charts showing the conjugation of the regular verb to skip:Present Tense, Regular VerbHere’s the present tense of the verb to ...

Conjugating the Verb "To Be"

Now let’s take the verb to be through a complete conjugation. But first, consider its uniqueness.To Be, Unique Among All VerbsIn the entire English language, one verb stands out: the verb to be...

conjugation

The process of conjugation shows the forms of a verb as it appears in all tenses. Conjugation reveals tense (when), person (who), number (how many, singular or plural), and ...

conjunction

We have three kinds of conjunctions: (1) coordinating, (2) correlative, and (3) subordinating. The coordinating and correlative co...

Conjunctions - Definition, Overview, and Lists of Examples

WelcomeBelow you’ll find links to our discussion on conjunctions. We recommend that you start with the first topic, Conjunctions - Words ...

Conjunctions - Words That Join

In this section, we’ll learn all about conjunctions. Great writers wisely and frequently use conjunctions to create parallel structures in their prose. And all great writers start sentences with conjunctions. After you read this section, you will too...

conjunctive adverb

A conjunctive adverb is a word like however or therefore. Others include nonetheless, consequently, even so, and others. We can use these words to join independent clauses. When you use them, however, make sure tha...

Conjunctive Adverbs - “However,” etc.

Watch OutAnother word that can join two independent clauses is the conjunctive adverb. You probably use these words in your writing style: however, therefore, furthermore, nevertheless, and...

connoisseur - correct spelling

connoisseurnounExample: The discriminate art connoisseur preferred the works of Michelangelo....

connote - vocabulary

connote - verb To suggest or signify something in addition to the primary meaning, as in A hot cup of tea connotes hospitality and comfort. With so many mass-market goods made off-shore, American-...

conquer - correct spelling

conquerverbExample: The dictator wanted to conquer the world....

conscience - correct spelling

consciencenounNot conscious.Example: The brutal dictator had no consc...

conscientious - correct spelling

conscientiousadjectiveExample: His conscientious study paid off when he took the exam....

conscious - correct spelling

consciousadjectiveNot conscience.Example: He was conscious...

consensus - correct spelling

consensusnounExample: We reached a consensus and agreed to launch the new product....

consequence - correct spelling

consequence nounExample: A natural consequence of excessive drinking is deep depression....

consequently - correct spelling

consequently adverbGrammar.com's section on the Parts of Speech discusses the demise of -ly adverbs. Click here for that ...

considerable - correct spelling

considerable adjectiveExample: He invested considerable funds in the venture....

consistency - correct spelling

consistency nounExample: His consistency in treating everyone equally reassured his staff....

consistent - correct spelling

consistent adjectiveExample: The consistent work ethic of the CEO ensured the company’s success....

consonant

The word consonant refers to the phonetic sound produced by occluding with or without releasing (p, b; t, d; k, g), diverting (m, n, ng), or obstructing (f, v; s, z, etc.) the flow of air from the lungs. From grade school, you remember the v...

consummate - vocabulary

consummate - verb To bring to completion, to fulfill; to complete an arrangement or an undertaking, as in to consummate the deal; to complete a marital union through sexual intercourse....

contemptible, contemptuous - vocabulary

contemptible, contemptuous - adjective Contemptible: Worthy of scorn or disdain, despicable.Contemptuous: Showing or expressing contempt or...

continual - correct spelling

continual adjectiveNote: Many dictionaries advise writers to use continual when they mean “intermittent” and continuous when they mean “uninterrupted.” But the terms are use...

Continual vs. Continuous

The English language is full of words that are both similar in sound and similar in meaning. Many of these w...

continual, continuous

Both words can be used to describe an event that recurs regularly.Continual describes an event that begins and ends and begins again over a period of time.Continuous assumes that the...

continual, continuous - vocabulary

continual, continuous - adjective Continual: regular or frequent events or occurrences, as in continual trips to the doctor. A good synonym is intermittent...

continuous - correct spelling

continuous adjectiveNote: Many dictionaries advise writers to use continual when they mean “intermittent” and continuous when they mean “uninterrupted.” But the terms are us...

Continuous vs. Continual

The English language is full of words that are both similar in sound and similar in meaning. Many of these words are classified as homophones, but many ot...

contraction

A contraction shows the coming together of two or more words with intervening sounds (in speech) omitted or with intervening letters (in writing) omitted. Typically, the contraction brings together an auxiliary verb and ...

Contractions - Use in Formal Writing

Before we leave our general discussion of verbs, we should pause to contemplate contractions. You remember them, don’t you? There. I just used one: don’t. You form contractions by compressing two words into one. One of those words is ordinar...

contravene - vocabulary

contravene - verb To conflict with, to go against, to deny or oppose, as in He contravened his opponent’s position with an array of data; to violate or transgress, as in She contravened the e...

controlled - correct spelling

controlled verb (past tense and past participle of the verb control) and adjectiveExample: She ...

controversial - correct spelling

controversial adjectiveExample: The controversial speaker talked about conspiracies of the government....

controversy - correct spelling

controversy nounExample: The controversy over accounting practices prompted the SEC to investigate....

convenience - correct spelling

convenience nounExample: “It would be a convenience to all if these two pronouns [that and which] were used with precision.” —Str...

convenient - correct spelling

convenient adjectiveExample: His wife supported his convenient alibi: He was in bed at the time of the shooting....

conversation - correct spelling

conversation nounExample: We enjoyed our conversation on the front porch about matters of moment....

Convince vs. Persuade

English is full of confusing words. If you’re not dealing with a confusing set of homophones or homonyms, yo...

coolly - correct spelling

coolly adverbGrammar.com's section on the Parts of Speech discusses the demise of -ly adverbs. Click here for that discus...

coordinate adjective

Coordinate adjectives are two adjectives, of equal weight, modifying the same noun. Generally, you should separate the adjectives with a comma. A good test to use: Put the word and between the two...

coordinating conjunction

A coordinating conjunction joins elements in a series. Each element must perform the same grammatical function and appear in the same grammatical form. This is the rule of parallel construction.We have sev...

copulative verb

It's not what you think. Or hope.A copulative verb is a verb form that joins a subject to an adjective or to another noun. The verb...

corollary - vocabulary

corollary - noun A proposition following so obviously from another that it requires little demonstration. The corollary to Cheney's zealous embrace of secrecy is his near ...

corporal - correct spelling

corporal adjective and nounExample: The candidate approved of corporal punishment. adjective...

Corporation vs. Cooperation

English is a distinctive language where many words are so similar that they cause confusion in the readers and writers minds. Cooperation and corporation are an example of such word...

correlate - correct spelling

correlate verb, noun, and adjectiveExample: The accountant tried to correlate income and expenses. ...

correlate, correlative, correlation - vocabulary

correlate, correlative, correlation - verb Correlate: to establish an orderly connection or relation; to have, or stand in, a relation.adjective...

correlative conjunction

These conjunctions come in pairs. We have five of them:not … but not only … but also both … and neither … nor either … orAll good writers routinely use these conjunctions in their style. You should,...

correspondence - correct spelling

correspondence nounExample: Our correspondence over the years has kept us informed....

corroborate - correct spelling

corroborate verbExample: The administrator will corroborate the testimony of the teacher....

corroboration, corroborate - vocabulary

corroboration, corroborate - noun Corroboration: the act of making more certain, the act of corroborating. verb Corrobor...

cough - correct spelling

cough noun and verbExample: His racking cough disrupted the meeting. nounExample: ...

could - correct spelling

could auxiliary verbNote: Though most auxiliary verbs do not exhibit tense, the word could serves as a past tense of the auxiliary verb can....

council - correct spelling

council nounNot counsel.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses council and counsel. ...

counsel - correct spelling

counsel noun and verbNot council.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses council and counsel....

Counsel vs. Council

There are many words that sound the same or nearly the same, but have different meanings. In English, these ...

counsel, council

Lawyers are most familiar with the word counsel, meaning “advice” or “guidance.” Also, a lawyer is often referred to as a counsel. A corporation, for example, has a general counsel...

Counsellor vs. Counselor

Spelling differences in American and British English are widespread and well-documented. From consonant doub...

counselor - correct spelling

counselor nounExample: Her guidance counselor suggested that she try out for band....

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

Expressions such as coupled with, as well as, along with, together with, not to mention, and others do not act as ...

courage - correct spelling

courage nounExample: The final-exam question was simply “Define courage.” After a minute, the student handed in his two-word answer: “This is.”...

courageous - correct spelling

courageous adjectiveExample: His courageous actions on the battlefield earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor....

course - correct spelling

course noun and verbNot coarse.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses coarse and course. ...

Course vs. Coarse

Consider the sentence written below:...

Coursework Writing Mistakes and Tips to Avoid them

This article has the goal to show students the most widespread mistakes they often make while writing their coursework. These mistakes are main reasons why yo...

courteous - correct spelling

courteous adjectiveExample: The courteous waiter received a huge tip from the generous diners....

courtesy - correct spelling

courtesy nounExample: We offer this service as a courtesy to our customers....

Creak vs. Creek

The words creak, creek sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Consider the sentences below: ...

credence - vocabulary

credence - noun Acceptance as true or valid; belief. A letter found in 1991 by State Archivist David Olson lends credence to another more direct theory [on the origin of “...

Credible vs. Creditable

Talk about words that can be confused easily … creditable and credible are a prime example.  While they sound alike, and their meanings come close, they are two completely sepa...

credible, credulous - vocabulary

credible, credulous - adjective Credible: capable of being believed; worthy of belief, as in a credible witness.Credulous: willing...

Criteria vs. Criterion

There is a bit of confusion that surrounds the use of criteria vs. criterion. What is the difference between...

criterion - vocabulary

criterion - noun A standard, rule, or principle by which to determine the correctness of a judgment or conclusion.Note:  The word criterion is singular. Though criterions is an a...

criterion, criteria

Criterion is a singular noun that means the “standard” or “rule” used to make a judgment or decision.Criteria is the...

criticism - correct spelling

criticism nounExample: He does not respond well to criticism, no matter how justified....

criticize - correct spelling

criticize verbExample: The teacher will criticize your work and suggest ways to improve....

critique

Until the middle of the 1900s, the word critique served as a noun. But as the verb criticize began to have negative connotations, the word ...

crystal - correct spelling

crystal noun and adjectiveExample: He served the pinot noir in his finest crystal. noun...

Cue vs. Queue

Cue and queue sound the same when spoken aloud, but they do not mean the same thing. This difference in mean...

culpable - vocabulary

culpable - adjective Guilty, deserving blame or censure, blameworthy. "You were a full participant, and you were at least equally culpable with every other man sentenced in this case,...

curiosity - correct spelling

curiosity nounExample: Curiosity killed the cat....

Currant vs. Current

Languages have so many words that some of them are bound to be similar. In English, words that sound alike b...

Current vs. Currant

Homophones can be confusing, and in their misuse, hilarity sometimes ensues. If you write that someone was swept away by the currant and you aren’t relating a cautionary tale of dru...

currently, presently

These words are often used to describe an action that is occurring now, at this moment in time.The word presently has come to be used more frequently to describe an action that is just about to happen rather than one...

cursory - vocabulary

cursory - adjective Rapid and superficial, hasty without noticing details, not thorough. "In India, there is the priestly caste . . . ," "The Arunta, an aboriginal tribe from central Australia . . . ,...

cylinder - correct spelling

cylinder nounExample: In the geometry class, the teacher explained the shape of the cylinder....

Discuss these letter quotes with the community:


We need you!

Help us build the largest grammar knowledge base and articles collection on the web!

Improve your writing now:

Download Grammar eBooks

It’s now more important than ever to develop a powerful writing style. After all, most communication takes place in reports, emails, and instant messages.