Writing Tip 212: “St. Paddy’s Day” vs. “St. Patty’s Day”

Writing Tip 212: “St. Paddy’s Day” vs. “St. Patty’s Day”

You’ve got to ask yourself, “do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk? This is what I feel like saying every St. Patrick’s Day when people toss about bad wording among drunken Irishman (and drunken pretend Irishman too). Before someone irate corrects you on this one, let me be clear: if you’re going to abbreviate […]

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"Eek" vs. "Eke" Ostrich

Writing Tip 211: “Eek” vs. “Eke”

Eek! That’s the sound of me squealing either because I’m scared to death of ostriches or because spellcheck once again was not your friend. If you’re writing about “eeking” out a living, maybe it would make sense if you’ve totally nailed the horror movie scream and are constantly cast in roles in this genre. Or […]

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"Never mind" or "Nevermind"

Writing Tip 210: “Nevermind” vs. “Never Mind”

Love him or hate him, but you can partially credit Kurt Cobain for a shift in spelling that has occurred in the past twenty-five or so years around this(these) word(s). What do you think of when you hear, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come As You Are,” and “Lithium”? Nevermind. No, I’m not discounting my last […]

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"breath" vs. "breathe"

Writing Tip 209: “Breath” vs. “Breathe”

Take a deep breath. These two words are rather easy to remember. No hyperventilation required. We aren’t going to do any breathing exercises here, only speaking exercises. Say these words aloud with me. Breath. Breathe. No this isn’t a meta meditation.

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Insurmountable mountain

Writing Tip 208: When to use “In-” vs. “Un-” Prefixes

The good news is that there is solid reasoning behind when you use the prefix of “in-” versus when you use “un-”; the bad news is that this logic will only help you if you have a solid understanding of language history. In all cases discussed here, these prefixes mean “not” or the opposite of […]

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Bee Business and Busyness

Writing Tip 207: “Business” vs. “Busyness”

I don’t want to get all up in your business, but no matter how busy you are, make sure you know the difference between “business” vs. “busyness.” I see the logic of this typo. After all, when you’re talking about the state of being happy, the word is “happiness”; when you mention how someone is […]

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Nip it in the bud

Writing Tip 206: “Nip it in the…”

Something we really need to nip in the bud is the typo “nip in the butt.” I promise you, that’s not the correct version of this idiom. This expression goes back to gardening. If you’re trimming back something problematic, you nip it in the bud, removing the buds before they grew into something bigger, wilder, […]

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