Do you know the difference between “biannual” and “biennial”? Or is there a difference? And where does “semiannual” fit in? (Cue the Jeopardy music) This is another one that trips up native speakers. A lot of folks don’t realize that “biannual” and “biennial” are two different words with two different meanings.
If you’re writing about a “faux pa,” I’m tempted to ask, who’s you’re daddy? Though, maybe I should back up… Remember, the phrase you’re looking for seeped into English from French. Phonetic spelling never works in such instances. It’s not “fo pah” or “faux pa.” The correct form of this expression is “faux pas”
Do you feel the earth move under your feet? How about the sky tumbling down, tumbling down? Are you singing along in your head, or are you really just nervous about your grammar? Do you know when to capitalize the “e” in “Earth” or when to leave it in lowercase? We all know the name […]
Once and for all, is it “axe” or “ax”? Has this question ever bothered you too? I hope you don’t have an ax/axe to grind about words that have two correct spellings. I’ve talked about “imposter” vs. “impostor,” “preventative” vs. “preventive,” and “advisor” vs. “adviser” before–among others–but here’s another one to add to that list.
When I came across one version of this word recently, I did a double-take. It simply didn’t look right to me, and as an editor, I like to be thorough. I can’t let typos slip through my grasp—even if Microsoft Word allows them. (It happens more than you might think.) So I did my research […]
It’s not Latin itself that trips people up, per se, but it’s the spelling of the dead language. When interwoven with our everyday speech, Latin usage sometimes allows us to say our ideas in a more sophisticated tone, but this sophistication crumbles if we spell it “per say.”
Before you start any fires in your fireplace, make sure the flue is open. Fingers crossed, no bird flew into your chimney and made a nest there. That would sure as heck freak me out—not to mention perhaps bring up concerns of avian flu. My bird phobias aside—they are fierce little dinosaurs, aren’t they?—please make […]
- January 25: Befriending the Editing Scissors by James River Writers (Writing Show series)
- February 11: AWP Conference, Washington, DC
- February 22: Tapping Your Tribe: Email Newsletters for Authors by James River Writers (Writing Show series)