Friday, July 4, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 42)

Continuing the series, here are some more words that are commonly misused, and how to use them correctly:

Since vs. because

The primary meanings of since involve an aspect of time (from then until now), however there is a secondary meaning equivalent to because. Unfortunately, this can cause confusion in the mind of the reader unless the meaning is clear in context. For example, in a sentence beginning, “Since we joined the club….” there is no way for the reader to know whether the writer meant “Ever since joining the club….” or “Because we’ve joined the club ….” Wouldn’t it be clearer to write it one of those two ways?

Couple vs. couple of

Wrong: I’ve got a couple things to take care of first.
Right: I’ve got a couple of things to take care of first.

Just as you would say “a trio of seagulls” or “a foursome of golfers” you should say “a couple of cookies.” You wouldn’t say “a trio questions,” so why say “a couple questions”?

More next time.


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