Found 120 articles starting with M:

machination

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

Macro vs. Micro

English words can be modified through many different methods. One of these methods is through prefixing. Eng...

macrocosm - vocabulary

noun
The 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

adjective
Generous 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...

Maid vs. Made

English is usually considered one of a simple language when compare to many complicated language like French...

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. ...

Maize vs. Maze

If you were stuck in a confusing task that involved navigating a pathway from one point to another, what wou...

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: ...

Make Do vs. Make Due

When plans go awry, sometimes we are forced to make the best of it, even if the circumstances are less than ...

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 ...

Mantel vs. Mantle

If humans tried hard enough, we could probably devise a language rich enough so that every word had a single...

manufacture - correct spelling

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

Many vs. Much

Quantities and volumes can be confusing in English. Some nouns can be counted as individual items, while oth...

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. verb
E...

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....

Master vs. Mister

The words master and mister are confusing. They are spelled with only one letter’s difference, but they do n...

match - correct spelling

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

material - correct spelling

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

Material vs. Materiel

English, like any written language, has countless words that changing even one letter will spell an entirely...

Math vs. Maths

By any name, writers as a group have encountered no enemy quite so intractable as the enemy of mathematics. ...

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

adjective
Foolishly 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...

May vs. Might

The two words may and might cause a lot of confusion in English and many writers aren’t sure when to use whi...

Maybe vs. May be

A compound word is two or more words combined to form a new word. There are many compound words in English, ...

Me vs. I

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

Me vs. I

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

measure - correct spelling

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

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

adjective
Untrue, 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

adjective
Showy, 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

adjective
Taking 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

noun
Courage 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

noun
A 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

noun
Air, 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

verb
Militate: 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

adjective
Characterized 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....

Mischievious vs. Mischievous

Some people are always causing trouble. Sometimes, the person might just be accident-prone. We might call su...

mischievous - correct spelling

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

misnomer - vocabulary

noun
A 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

noun
A 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 ...

Mistrust vs. Distrust

Sometimes, two words are so similar that even experienced writers have trouble remembering which is which. D...

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...

Modelling vs. Modeling

If you are an attractive human, you might be able to convince people to pay you to be photographed wearing e...

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...

Mold vs. Mould

Americans and the British spell many words differently. Americans omit the U that appears in some British wo...

momentous - correct spelling

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

Monies vs. Moneys

If you have ever read a company’s financial filings, you are likely to discover a high volume of opaque jarg...

monkey - correct spelling

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

Monologue vs. Soliloquy

Theater geeks are an insular bunch, obsessed with the minutiae of stagecraft and drama. Even some of these s...

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...

Moot vs. Mute

Language can be confusing at times, especially with words that sound similar to one another. Such is the cas...

moral - correct spelling

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

Moral vs. Morale

If two words are spelled similarly, it can be tricky to remember which is which. That is the case with 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

adjective
About 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....

Most Common British/American English Spelling Mistakes

While both countries speak the same language, no one can deny that there are quite a few differences in the way that some words are spelled. In many cases, people often confuse the spelling of many words and they can’t tell which...

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....

Moustache vs. Mustache

Human men have hair on their faces. Some men style their facial hair in fashionable ways. Other men grow the...

Movable or Moveable

Ernest Hemingway’s memoir, which consists of portraits of famous literary expatriates and sketches of the au...

much, many

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

Much, Many, More...

Much ...

Mucus vs. Mucous

The human body produces many fluids. Some of these fluids are mundane and some inspire disgust, but they are...

munificent - vocabulary

adjective
Characterized 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

noun
A vast indefinite number.adjective
Innumerable. 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. noun
E...

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