Than and then

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By Mary Morel One letter different, but a world apart in meaning, these two little words are commonly confused. You are not alone! than Than is used in comparisons. She is older than him. Other than that … then Then is used … Read More

Principal and principle

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By Mary Morel principal Principal means leader, first in rank and original investment of money. The principal of the school gave the speech. Think of ‘your principal as your pal’. principle A principle is a value or a fundamental truth or law of … Read More

Ellipses

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By Mary Morel Reader’s question: If you have a full stop then an ellipsis, do you have three dots or four? Answer:  An ellipsis is always three dots ( … ). (We use ellipses to indicate that we have left out … Read More

Prepositions – in and at

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By Mary Morel Reader’s question: Could you please teach me a simple method to remember how and when to use the words in and at appropriately? For example, which of the following sentences are correct? I live in/at England Garden. I am in/at the airport. … Read More

There, they’re, there

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By Mary Morel I think people who confuse there, they’re and their understand the different meanings of these words, but get confused because they look and sound alike. Words that look and sound the same are known as homophones. there = in that place they’re = … Read More

Desert and dessert

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By Mary Morel The extra s in dessert completely changes the meaning of desert. Desert A desert is a wasteland or to desert means to abandon. The explorers were lost in the desert for four days without water. He deserted … Read More

Insidious and invidious

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By Mary Morel insidious Insidious means treacherous or crafty. He took power insidiously. It was an insidious plot. invidious Invidious means likely to give offence. He made invidious remarks. It was an invidious comparison. One letter separates these two words, … Read More

Practical and practicable

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By Mary Morel Reader’s question: What’s the difference between practical and practicable? Answer: Practical means useful or matter-of-fact. This is a practical tool. Practicable means feasible, possible. The backup plan was practicable. Another important distinction is that practical can apply … Read More

Premise or premises

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By Mary Morel Reader’s question: Should the term premise or premises be used when referring to a single location? Answer: We use premises for a single house or location, and premise as a term in logic, meaning something assumed or taken as … Read More

Latin expressions and italics

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By Mary Morel Reader’s question: Do you put Latin expressions in italics? For example, ad nauseam and sic. Online grammar answer: Most Latin expressions are now so commonplace there is no need for italics. However, you are not wrong if you … Read More

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