By Mary Morel There seems to be a lot of ‘-ize’ (e.g. organize) spelling creeping into Australian and New Zealand English. Some people now seem to think it is okay to use ‘-ize’ selectively for words such as organization that are used a lot. I wonder if ‘-ize’ is creeping into the language because Microsoft Word so often […]
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By Mary Morel Reader’s question: So many people say empathetic but I like empathic. What’s your view? Answer: I think they can be used interchangeably, but Daily Writing Tips has an interesting take on these words. In summary, it says: ‘Because of the Star Trek influence, I do see a difference between empathic and empathetic. I would use empathetic to describe the empathy an ordinary person feels. […]
By Mary Morel Did you know that the ‘e’ in e-words stands for ‘electronic’? We invent new words all the time and we’ve made several new words by putting ‘e’ in front of them. I wonder if the original meaning of ‘e’ has now been forgotten. We usually hyphenate these words when they are new. e-mail […]
By Mary Morel If you are not interested in something are you disinterested or uninterested? disinterested Disinterested means impartial. I am disinterested in politics. uninterested Uninterested means not interested in. I am uninterested in music. I wonder if this distinction is dying out. I think we tend to say I am not interested rather than I am uninterested.
By Mary Morel deprecate Deprecate means to put down or disapprove of. He made deprecating remarks about the evening. depreciate Depreciate means to decline in value. The property depreciated. He made deprecating remarks that led to the property depreciating in value.
By Mary Morel Have you ever wondered what a palindrome is? A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same way forwards or backwards. Anna don’t nod madam nurses run A Toyota’s a Toyota Watch this YouTube video that reads the exact opposite backwards as forward. Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact […]
Non-native English speakers sometimes have difficulty knowing whether to use a singular or plural verb with some nouns. For instance, it seems odd to use a singular verb with a ‘pair of’ when we’re obviously talking about two things (a pair of shoes). But then sometimes we’re talking about two things that are joined (a […]
Reader’s question: What is the correct plural of status? Answer: Pam Peters, The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, says: ‘In English usage status has both an anglicized plural statuses and the (zero) plural status. The second results from its being a Latin fourth declension noun … but also correlates with English use of the word as a mass noun, as in considering their relative status.’ […]
By Mary Morel persons Number of individuals who can be counted. Five persons are coming. people Large or uncounted group. Several people can’t come. PS The distinction between people and persons may be dying out because these words are often used interchangeably.
By Mary Morel Reader’s question: What is the rule for distinguishing between ‘used to do’ and ‘be used to’? Answer: ‘Used to do’ means something that you did in the past, possibly on a regular basis, and no longer do. I used to knit when my children were little. ‘Be used to’ means to be […]