Found 330 articles starting with C:

cabal - vocabulary

cabal - verb
To hatch a scheme, to plot.noun
A 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 noun
Example: 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

cafeterianoun
Example: The committee met in the cafeteria....

calculator - correct spelling

calculatornoun
Example: Students may not use a calculator in math class....

calendar - correct spelling

calendarnoun
Example: Mark down this date on your calendar....

Calfs vs. Calves

English language can be very confusing when it comes to certain words and their singular and plural forms. Sometimes to convert the word in plural only takes putting an s at the end of the word; book becomes books, phone becomes phones. However, that...

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 adjective
Example: The soldier wore camouflage to hide in the bushes....

campaign - correct spelling

campaignnoun and verb
Example: He ran a brilliant campaign for the Senate. noun
Examp...

Can vs. May

Content about Can vs. May has been temporarily removed......

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

People all around the world that live in harsh climatic conditions are quite familiar with both these words. Cancelled and canceled are quite similar words, with similar meanings but different spellings and that fact causes a sense of confusion when ...

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

candidatenoun
Example: 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.noun
Monotonous speech crammed with platitudes; the special vocabu...

cantaloupe - correct spelling

cantaloupenoun
Example: He added salt to his slice of cantaloupe....

capital - correct spelling

capitalnoun and adjective
Not capitol (the building).Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses ca...

Capital vs. Capitol

The legislators ...

Capitalization

It seems fairly simple and easy how capitalization works in English language. But when you dig deeper inside...

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 verb
Example: “O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done ….” —Walt Whitman. noun
Example: 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

Content about Caramel vs. Carmel has been temporarily removed......

carburetor - correct spelling

carburetornoun
Example: The carburetor in the car was clogged....

career - correct spelling

careernoun
Example: She sought a career in medicine....

Career vs. Carrier

Carrier Carrier is pronounced as “kae-ri-year.” The ‘kae’ sound is same a...

careful - correct spelling

carefuladjective
Example: Be careful when you cross the street....

careless - correct spelling

carelessadjective
Example: He was careless with the company’s money....

Caribbean - correct spelling

Caribbeannoun and adjective
Example: 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

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

carrying - correct spelling

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

cartilage - correct spelling

cartilagenoun
Example: 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 verb
Example: He’s the king of the castle. noun
Example: The ...

Casual vs. Causal

Casual...

Catalog vs. Catalogue

English is a language used in various countries and those countries have made modifications to the language according to their own requirements. Those modifications include changing spellings of numerous words including the pair we will be discussing...

Cataphoric Reference

Cataphorism is a grammatical expression that refers to a word or a phrase that links to anoth...

category - correct spelling

categorynoun
Example: This category of plants likes the shade....

Causative Verb

Causative verb is a grammatical expression that represents a verb that is causing something t...

Cavalry vs. Calvary

The similarity between the spellings of “cavalry” and “calvary” can easily confuse you, especially because none of these words is frequently used nowadays, so the contexts aren’t very helpful in identifying the meanings of these words and the correct...

ceiling - correct spelling

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

cemetery - correct spelling

cemeterynoun
Not cemetary.Example: The mourners gathered in the cemetery....

Censure vs. Censor vs. Sensor

The government f...

Center vs. Centre

Both "center" and "centre" refer to the same thing. As nouns, they signify the "middle" part or point of an area. As verbs, they refer to the action of placing something into the middle of something else.So why are they spelled differently, w...

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 adjective
Example: He ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast. noun
Ex...

certain - correct spelling

certainadjective and pronoun
Example: 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.noun
A feeling of vexation; disappointment or humiliation. ...

challenge - correct spelling

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

changeable - correct spelling

changeableadjective
Example: 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 noun
Example: We enjoyed his characteristic laugh. adjective...

charity - correct spelling

charitynoun
Example: “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

chauvinismnoun
Not 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 out vs Checkout

Check out Check out is a phrasal verb of the word check, which has 2 meanings: to look at someone/somethingto sign for something (like a will) You can also add a noun or pronoun between the words, like ‘check this ou...

Check vs. Cheque

The fact that you see words spelled very similarly and used with the same meaning often can be overwhelming, especially if you are not sure whether both of them are correct. The same applies to "check" and "cheque", which are often confusing or used ...

Check-in vs. Check in

Content about Check-in vs. Check in has been temporarily removed......

Checkout

[download_checkout]...

Checkout

[shoppingcart]...

chief - correct spelling

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

childish vs. childlike

Though childish is occasionally used neutrally to mean 'appropriate to a child', as in my childish efforts at drawing, it is much more commonly encountered as a term of contempt applied to an adult, as in the familiar  Don't be ...

chili - correct spelling

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

chocolaty - correct spelling

chocolatyadjective
Not chocolatey.Example: The chocolaty drink delighted the children....

Choir vs. Chorus

A pair of very often misspelled words in English is represented by the “choir” and “chorus”. In fact, it’s not necessarily a problem of misspelling, but more of a problem of misunderstanding, of confusion. They are used in the wrong contexts, with th...

choose - correct spelling

chooseverb
Not chose
.Note: The verb to choose uses choose in various tenses, e.g., She will choose...

Choose vs chose

Chose and choose are two words in the English Dictionary. Chose is used to be used for past tense while choose is for present tense or future tense. Example:Jason will choose which game to play with Hayden.Jasmine chos...

Chord vs. Cord

Can one letter change the entire message of a word? Yes, it can. An amazing example to illustrate this is the pair of words "chord" and "cord". Simply adding or not adding the letter "h" will result in completely distinct definitions of these nouns....

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

Content about Chronic vs. Acute has been temporarily removed......

cigarette - correct spelling

cigarettenoun
Example: 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

circumstancenoun
Example: We must consider every circumstance before making our decision....

citizen - correct spelling

citizennoun
Example: She taught her child to be a good citizen....

Clause

A sentence in English language can be divided into various parts. Each part of a sentence serves its relativ...

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...

Clearer vs. More Clear

Clear (adjective)When something is understandable or transparent, we say it is clear. Some examples would be – ‘The water is crystal clear’¸ The concept is ‘clear’.Clearer, clearly is the comparative degree made in a similar ma...

Cleft sentences and inversion

Inverted sentences – Consider the following example – ...

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 ...

clipping

Clipping is a type of word-formation in which a short piece is extracted from a longer word and given the same meaning. Examples include bra from brassiere, gym from gymnasium, flu from influenza, cello ...

Closer vs. Closure

Homophones are words in English language that are pronounced the same way but have different ...

cloth - correct spelling

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

Cloth vs. Clothes

In the case of "cloth" and "clothes", we are not necessarily talking about a misspelling or about completely different senses of the words, but about the confusion often created between them. "Cloth" is often used as the singular form of the noun "cl...

clothes - correct spelling

clothesnoun
Grammar.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

coarseadjective
Not course
.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses coarse and course. ...

Coarse vs. Course

This pair is pretty tricky, that's true, because they sound the same and it is also easy to misspell "coarse" and "course". But after a short review of what meaning each word carries, things will clear out right away. Let's take a closer look to thes...

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

coffeenoun
Example: 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 ...

Cognate Object

An object is a part of a sentence that represents the noun on which the action is taking plac...

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

coliseumnoun
Also 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. ...

collect - correct spelling

collectverb
Example: The clerk of the court will collect the fines. ...

collectible - correct spelling

collectiblenoun and adjective
Note: 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 ...

Collective Noun

Noun is the main part of a sentence and one of the most important pillars of English grammar. Noun is the na...

college - correct spelling

collegenoun
Example: He worked hard to send his children to college....

Collocations

You may or may not be a native English speaker but if you landed on this page it means that you are an arden...

colloquialism, colloquial - vocabulary

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

Colon

Punctuation is the basic element of English grammar and without it a sentence is not only incomplete but als...

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

colonelnoun
Example: 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...

Color vs Colour

Color is in the American way to say color but colour is the Canadian way to say colour. Color = American wayColour = Canadian way...

column - correct spelling

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

Coma vs. Comma

Most pairs of words that are frequently misspelled do have some subtle differences in the way they sound, due to a different letter or pronunciation. That makes it easier to spot the difference between them. But when it comes to “coma” and “comma”, t...

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...

Come get it vs. Come and get it

Some expressions are so often used on the internet wrongly, that they start to seem right and, sometimes, they actually become acceptable, at least informally. “Come get it” and “come and get it” is one of these examples – they are expressions tha...

comedy - correct spelling

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

comfortable - correct spelling

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

comic, comical

Something is comic if it is intended to be funny. The word is mainly applied to skits, songs, plays and the like. "Tom Lehrer was famous for his comic songs."Something is comical if it is unintentionally funny. "Her portrayal of O...

coming - correct spelling

comingverb (present participle of the verb come), noun, and adjective
Example: 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 Inside YouWhen 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 ...

commemorate - correct spelling

commemorateverb
Example: The town wanted to commemorate the war hero....

Comment vs. Commentary

Comment Comment is a short statement or remark about something one has seen or experienced. For example, ‘your shoes are nice’ is a comment on the shoes, ‘it was a funny movie’ is also a comment. Comment can be verbal or writt...

Commercial and Literary Style of Writing

...

commission - correct spelling

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

commitment - correct spelling

commitmentnoun
Example: 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

committeenoun
Example: He detested the interminable meetings of the committee....

Common Dissertation Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Your dissertation sure is important! It can make or break your time at university. The thing is, as you’ve never written anything this long before, writing a text like this can be quite overwhelming and there are a lot of opportu...

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

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

company - correct spelling

companynoun
Example: 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 Adjective

The English we speak and write appears to be simple enough to be easily understandable by everyone. But when...

Comparative and Superlative forms of Adjectives and Adverbs

The English language uses adjectives and adverbs in a sentence to describe the quality of a noun or a verb. ...

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

compelverb
The past tense and past participle are spelled compelled.Example: ...

competent - correct spelling

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

competition - correct spelling

competitionnoun
Example: 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 noun
Not 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

completelyadverb
Grammar.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 noun
Not 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

There is a small probability that you saw "comradery" spelled like this, according to statistics that show that "camaraderie" is used significantly more frequently in English. Yet, if you are wondering whether both versions are correct or not, or abo...

conceal - correct spelling

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

concede - correct spelling

concedeverb
Example: On election night, she will concede the race....

conceit - correct spelling

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

conceited - correct spelling

conceitedadjective
See conceit
.Example: His conceited attitude dismayed...

conceivable - correct spelling

conceivableadjective
Example: A cure to cancer remains conceivable....

conceive - correct spelling

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

concentration - correct spelling

concentrationnoun
Example: Studying our language requires careful concentration....

conception - correct spelling

conceptionnoun
Example: 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...

Concrete Noun vs. Abstract Noun

A noun can be divided into two categories:...

condemn - correct spelling

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

condescend - correct spelling

condescendverb
Example: 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 verb
Example: The contract contained a condition allowing us to escape liability. noun...

Conditional Sentences

If you are paving your path to learn better English or trying to improve your grammar you must have come acr...

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...

Conditional verbs

1.   ...

conference - correct spelling

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

confident - correct spelling

confidentadjective
Example: Her confident demeanor belied her lack of preparation....

Confident vs. confidential vs. confidant

Confidant A close person with whom you share the most secret matters, the kind that cannot be shared with anyone else. It is a noun and refers to a person. Sometimes, people use ‘confidante’ as an alternative word to r...

Confirm Vs Conform

Confirm The more common of the two words, confirm is used to establish something as true using proof or facts. For example, to confirm a theory is to prove it using some facts, to...

congratulate - correct spelling

congratulateverb
See congratulations
.Example: We c...

congratulations - correct spelling

congratulationsnoun
See 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

There are many parts of a sentence that you would have learned in about in school. Some of them are common a...

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 Adverb

The word conjunction means to connect or link two things together. You would have heard about conjunctions i...

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

connoisseurnoun
Example: 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

conquerverb
Example: The dictator wanted to conquer the world....

conscience - correct spelling

consciencenoun
Not conscious
.Example: The brutal dictator had no consc...

conscientious - correct spelling

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

conscious - correct spelling

consciousadjective
Not conscience
.Example: He was conscious...

consensus - correct spelling

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

consequence - correct spelling

consequence noun
Example: A natural consequence of excessive drinking is deep depression....

consequently - correct spelling

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

considerable - correct spelling

considerable adjective
Example: He invested considerable funds in the venture....

consistency - correct spelling

consistency noun
Example: His consistency in treating everyone equally reassured his staff....

consistent - correct spelling

consistent adjective
Example: 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 adjective
Note: 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

Content about Continual vs. Continuous has been temporarily removed......

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 adjective
Note: 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

How’s your foot now?...

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 adjective
Example: She ...

controversial - correct spelling

controversial adjective
Example: The controversial speaker talked about conspiracies of the government....

controversy - correct spelling

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

convenience - correct spelling

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

convenient - correct spelling

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

conversation - correct spelling

conversation noun
Example: 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 adverb
Grammar.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...

Copular Verb

A verb is a word in a sentence that is performing the action in the sentence....

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...

Copyright vs Copywrite

Copyright Copyright is a noun, which means exclusive legal rights of something – a work of art, music, document, poem, film name or any original work. This object or piece ...

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 noun
Example: 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 adjective
Example: 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 noun
Example: Our correspondence over the years has kept us informed....

corroborate - correct spelling

corroborate verb
Example: 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 verb
Example: His racking cough disrupted the meeting. noun
Example: ...

could - correct spelling

could auxiliary verb
Note: 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 noun
Not counsel
.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses council and counsel. ...

counsel - correct spelling

counsel noun and verb
Not council
.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses council and counsel....

Counsel vs. Council

The pronunciations of “counsel” and “council” are almost identical, and this is the reason why they are so often confused. But despite their similarity, they have distinct meanings and should be used in different contexts.The safest way to ma...

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

Count Nouns

By now, we have come across multiple types of nouns and pronouns in our everyday language. You might also va...

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 noun
Example: 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 adjective
Example: His courageous actions on the battlefield earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor....

course - correct spelling

course noun and verb
Not 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 adjective
Example: The courteous waiter received a huge tip from the generous diners....

courtesy - correct spelling

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

COVID-19 Capitalization

The word "coronavirus" is not a proper noun, and is not the name of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Therefore, "CoronaVirus", "Coronavirus", and "Corona Virus" are invalid. Adding a space, like in "corona virus", is also invalid.You can't sa...

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...

crimson vs. scarlet

Crimson denotes a deep shade of red. Scarlet denotes a bright shade of red....

Criteria vs. Criterion

Criteria” and “criterion” might be a pair of words that you rarely hear of, mainly because one is barely used, whereas the other is frequently used wrongly. If you believe that these words are synonyms, paronyms or different spellings of the same con...

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

criticize - correct spelling

criticize verb
Example: 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 adjective
Example: He served the pinot noir in his finest crystal. noun...

Cue vs. Queue

Cue” and “queue” are one of the problematic English words, especially for inexperienced users. The confusion is owed, obviously, to the amazing similarity between their pronunciation. If you don’t see these words written, you can hear “cue” and “queu...

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 noun
Example: Curiosity killed the cat....

Currant vs. Current

Content about Currant vs. Current has been temporarily removed......

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

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