Found 95 articles starting with M:

machination

The word machination means a crafty scheme or plot.Pronounce the first syllable as “mac,” not “mash.”...

macrocosm - vocabulary

nounThe great universe or world, the universe considered as a whole; the total complex structure of something. This monster of a land, this mightiest of nations, this spawn of the future, turns out to be th...

mad

Yes, the word mad does mean “angry or wrathful.” It also means “demented, insane.” Various other meanings include “ferocious” (a mad dog), “extremely foolish” (a mad scheme...

Made-Up Adjectives

Pay special attention to those compound adjectives you make up. Most people incorrectly leave out the hyphens: product-liability lawsuit employment-discrimination claim sexual-harassment suit child-support p...

magazine - correct spelling

magazine - noun  Example: She reads a magazine while exercising on the bicycle.Example: He loaded a bullet in the gun...

magnanimous - vocabulary

adjectiveGenerous in treating or judging others, generous in forgiving an insult; free from petty vindictiveness; noble, high-minded. Vronsky felt his elevation and his own abasement, his truth and his...

main clause

The main clause of a sentence is the independent clause—complete with subject, conjugated verb, and a third part. The third part is dictated by the verb. If the verb is ...

main verb

The main verb in a sentence is the verb in the main clause, also called the independent clause. This verb will appear in conjugated form, showing tense, per...

Main Verbs - Four Kinds

We can first divide all main verbs into two broad categories: action verbs and no-action verbs. Thousands reside in the action-verb group, only a handful in the no-action group. Each of these groups further subdivides into two additional groups:...

Main Verbs - Four Kinds

We can first divide all main verbs into two broad categories: action verbs and no-action verbs. Thousands reside in the action-verb group, only a handful in the no-action group. Each of these groups further subdivides into two additional groups:...

maintain - correct spelling

maintain - verb  Example: If he can maintain this pace, he will win the race....

maintenance - correct spelling

maintenance - noun and adjective (in pharmacology)  Example: With proper maintenance, the car should last for years. ...

majority

First, when you mean “most,” use that term, not majority. Thus, in the following, the writer probably does not mean something above 51%. Instead, the writer means most: ...

manageable - correct spelling

manageable - adjective  Example: We have no reason to worry. These are manageable problems....

maneuver - correct spelling

maneuver - verb and noun  Also manoeuvre (especially in England).Example: We must try to maneuver the con...

Maneuver vs. Manoeuvre

Maneuver and manoeuvre are among the list of those words which have more than one spellings and which are a cause of a lot of confusion among young Englis...

manner in which

This expression usually just adds verbosity to the style. Use way to get rid of it. Thus: The reckless manner in which the driver handled the car ….becomesTh...

Manner vs. Manor

The words manner and manor are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings. Consider the sentences below: ...

manner, in a

Expressions like in a professional manner flag a loose, slow style. Instead, use the adverb professionally. Watch for in a rigid manner ...

manufacture - correct spelling

manufacture - verb and noun  Example: He discovered a new way to manufacture cotton cloth. verb...

marriage - correct spelling

marriage - noun  Example: Each anniversary, they reminisced about their marriage....

married - correct spelling

married - verb and adjective  Example: He married his childhood sweetheart. verbE...

marry - correct spelling

marry - verb  Example: He got down on his knees and said, “Will you marry me?”...

marshmallow - correct spelling

marshmallow - noun  Not marshmellow.Example: The little girl toasted her first marshmallow at summer camp....

match - correct spelling

match - noun and verb  Example: Jason and Molly—what a wonderful match. nounExample: ...

material - correct spelling

material - adjective and noun  Example: She is a material witness of the crime. adjective...

mathematics - correct spelling

mathematics - noun  Example: He learned to add and subtract at an early age, so he majored in mathematics in college....

maudlin - vocabulary

adjectiveFoolishly sentimental; tearfully and weakly emotional. The young ladies did not drink it; Osborne did not like it; and the consequence was that Jos, that fat gourmand, drank up the wh...

Me vs. I

A common mistake in people’s writing is to confuse I and me with each other. Both are personal pronouns, but...

measure - correct spelling

measure - verb and noun  Example: He tried to measure the acreage of his field. verbEx...

medal, metal, mettle, meddle

A medal is awarded for bravery.Mettle means “courage.”Iron is a metal.My neighbor likes to meddle.Example:...

media, medium

The word media is the plural of medium. These days, however, using media as a collec...

medicine - correct spelling

medicine - noun  Example: Matthew studied medicine in Richmond, Virginia.Example: This new ...

medieval - correct spelling

medieval - adjective  Example: He studied medieval architecture in college...

memento - correct spelling

memento - noun  Not momento.Example: He kept a lock of her hair as a memento....

memorandum, memoranda

The word memorandum is singular. Its plural is either memoranda or memorandums. In fact, ...

Memorize the Various Personal Pronouns

Here are the same tables on personal pronouns you memorized in Grammar.com’s section on the Parts of Speech (Pronouns):Singular Personal Pronouns ...

mendacious - vocabulary

adjectiveUntrue, false; habitually telling lies, dishonest. For the last week, I've been intimately involved with Jack Nicholson. He's both a charmer and a cliché. Passionate about truth in his art and...

meretricious - vocabulary

adjectiveShowy, gaudy, tawdry; deceptively pleasing, based on pretense; also relating to a prostitute, as in a meretricious relationship. “She is charming,” thought Eugène, more and more in lo...

meticulous - vocabulary

adjectiveTaking extreme care with minute details; precise; thorough. Moreover, in his tremendous prophecy of this kingdom which was to make all men one together in God, Jesus had small patience for the...

mettle - vocabulary

nounCourage or fortitude; also temperament or disposition, as in a woman of fine mettle. In truth, the Geats’ prince gladly trusted his mettle, his might, the mercy of God! Cast of...

microcosm - vocabulary

nounA small representative system analogous to the larger system. Thus one can see in the Negro church to-day, reproduced in microcosm, all that great world from which the Negro is cut off ...

mien - vocabulary

nounAir, demeanor, or bearing, which shows feeling or character. My Lord advances with majestic mien, Smit with the mighty pleasure to be seen.—Alexander Pope Moral Es...

might - correct spelling

might - auxiliary verb and noun  Example: He might win. He mi...

militate, mitigate - vocabulary

verbMilitate: to influence strongly. The word militate is intransitive and is usually accompanied by the preposit...

millennium - correct spelling

millennium - noun  Not millenium.Example: In the late 1990s, everyone made plans to celebrate the next millennium....

million - correct spelling

million - adjective and noun  Example: He won a million dollars in the golf tournament. adjectiv...

millionaire - correct spelling

millionaire - noun  Example: The millionaire donated money to save the old house....

miniature - correct spelling

miniature - noun and adjective  Example: He bought a miniature of the Washington Monument. noun...

minimum - correct spelling

minimum - noun and adjective  Example: We will reduce our risks to a  minimum. noun...

minuscule - correct spelling

minuscule - adjective  Note: The word derives from the Latin minus meaning “less.” In much writing, you’ll find it spelled miniscule, probably because of the prefix ...

minutes - correct spelling

minutes - noun  Example: She always watches 60 Minutes.Example: The secretary read the ...

minutia - correct spelling

minutia - noun (plural minutiae)  Note: Most people use the word to mean “small details.” They should therefore opt for the plural minutiae...

miracle - correct spelling

miracle - noun  Example: Her recovery was a miracle that baffled the doctors....

misanthropic - vocabulary

adjectiveCharacterized by a mistrustful scorn or hatred of humankind; having a sneering disbelief in humankind.Note: The noun misanthrope (a person) is a hater of ...

miscellaneous - correct spelling

miscellaneous - adjective  Example: He read a collection of miscellaneous articles....

mischief - correct spelling

mischief - noun  Example: The destruction of the church was the mischief of vandals....

mischievous - correct spelling

mischievous - adjective  Not mischievious.Example: The children played some ...

misnomer - vocabulary

nounA name wrongly or mistakenly applied; an inappropriate or misapplied designation or name. Cat-nap is a short nap taken while sitting; cat-ladder a kind of ladder used on sloping roofs of houses; cat-ste...

misogyny - correct spelling

misogyny - noun  Example: The patriarchal religion centered around a curious brand of misogyny....

missile - correct spelling

missile - noun  Example: He pretended his pencil was a nuclear missile....

missive - vocabulary

nounA message in writing; a letter. George read one sentence in this letter several times. Then he dropped the missive in his wastebasket to join the clipping, and strolled down the corrido...

misspell - correct spelling

misspell - verb  Not mispell.When the last letter of a prefix (mis) matches the first letter of the root word (spell), you do not drop either the last letter of the prefix or the fir...

misspelled - correct spelling

misspelled - verb (past tense and past participle of the verb misspell) and adjective  When the last letter of a pref...

mistake - correct spelling

mistake - noun and verb  Note: The past tense of the verb mistake is mistook. The ...

mitigate, militate

The word mitigate means “to make less severe or less intense.” The word militate means “to influence strongly.” The word militate is ...

mitigate, militate - vocabulary

See the discussion under militate, mitigate.Grammar.com's section on Problem Words discusses militate and mitigate. ...

Moat vs. Mote

There are millions of tiny dust motes in the air. He fell in the moat around ...

modal auxiliary verb

We have ten modal auxiliary verbs: can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, and would. We use them to express the mood of the verb, which, most often, is the indicative mood (expressing someth...

modifier

Modifiers are words or groups of words that limit, enumerate, or describe and clarify the meaning of other words—called headwords. The headwords are nouns (or words acting as nouns) or verbs. Modifiers...

Modifying Adjectives and Adverbs

Amber and Miss Hamrick also wanted to further describe the adjectives they used to modify nouns. Not content with saying The sunset is beautiful, they became grandiose and said The sunset is unbe...

Modifying an Entire Sentence or Clause

Use of Hopefully to Start a SentenceThis discussion will undoubtedly get some readers’ noses out of joint, because it points out that starting a sentence with the word hopefully is acceptabl...

momentous - correct spelling

momentous - adjective  Example: These momentous events precipitated a war....

monkey - correct spelling

monkey - noun and verb  Example: The cute little monkey surprised the children. nounEx...

monotonous - correct spelling

monotonous - adjective  Example: The monotonous teacher put her students to sleep....

mood

First, understand this: The word mood has nothing to do with frame of mind, as in happy or sad. It actually refers to mode, which is the attribute of a verb suggesting the speaker's attitude toward the action expressed.The m...

moral - correct spelling

moral - adjective and noun  Not morale.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses morale and moral. ...

moral, morale

Moral is an adjective used to describe things that have a quality of goodness or character. The word moral also acts as a noun...

morale - correct spelling

morale - noun  Not moral.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses morale and moral. ...

More on the Awful “Like” Word

In my last blog, I began my diatribe against the awful like word. In this edition, we’ll explore some grammar and see how the like word can serve as seven out of the eight parts of speech. Many children develop the like...

moribund - vocabulary

adjectiveAbout to die; on the verge of termination or extinction; on the verge of becoming obsolete. Of the twenty or so civilizations known to modern Western historians, all except our own appear to b...

mortgage - correct spelling

mortgage - noun and verb  Example: He took out a second mortgage on his house and bought a car. noun...

mosquito - correct spelling

mosquito - noun  Example: The mosquito carried a vile disease....

mosquitoes - correct spelling

mosquitoes - noun (plural of the noun mosquito)  Example: The swarm of mosquitoes disrupted the party....

mountain - correct spelling

mountain - noun  Example: They climbed the mountain for the picnic....

mournful - correct spelling

mournful - adjective  Example: She stared out the window at the mournful shadows....

much, many

Much means “in large degree or quantity.”Many means “numerous” or “of an indefinite number.”Generally, much is applied to ...

munificent - vocabulary

adjectiveCharacterized by generous motives, extremely liberal in giving. The noun is munificence. Yesterday was a big moment in the annals of congressional ...

murmur - correct spelling

murmur - noun and verb  Example: The low murmur in the audience distracted the speaker. noun...

muscle - correct spelling

muscle - noun and verb  Example: His injured muscle prevented further athletic activity. noun...

myriad

Though myriad may act as a noun (a myriad of problems) or an adjective (myriad problems...

myriad - vocabulary

nounA vast indefinite number.adjectiveInnumerable. Note: Throughout most of its history in English myriad was used as a noun, as i...

myself, himself, yourself, herself, ourself, ourselves

The Grammar.com section on the Parts of Speech has a thorough discussion of “reflexive and intensive pronouns,” that is, the -...

mysterious - correct spelling

mysterious - adjective  Example: “It’s alright...it’s alright...it’s alright. She moves in mysterious ways.” —U2.Note:...

mystery - correct spelling

mystery - noun and adjective  Example: His disappearance remains a mystery. nounE...

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