From the author of the former #1 bestselling Military Sci-fi novel on Amazon (My Other Car is a Spaceship). FREQUENTLY MISUSED AND MISSPELLED WORDS AND PHRASES (and how to use them correctly) is now available for preorder on Amazon.
Do you sometimes find yourself using the wrong word (such as discrete vs. discreet), or using a word incorrectly? Are you confused by the differences between similar words (such as shined, shone, and shown; lay and lie; or to, too, and two)? Do you misspell common words (alright vs. all right, or ect. vs. etc.) and phrases (such as tow the line vs. toe the line)? Do you write fiction, nonfiction, business memos, emails, or anything else that others will read? Then this book is for you.
It explains in simple language the differences between words and phrases that are frequently misused and misspelled, as well as rules for proper punctuation and capitalization, and other elements of English that often trip up the unwary writer. And it does so with frequent humor to keep it from becoming too dry. For example:
Baited vs. Bated
Wrong: I waited with baited breath.
Right: I waited with bated breath.
Do your friends call you “fish-breath”? If not, then you wait with bated breath, which means “reduced, lessened, lowered in force.” The expression bated breath (using a short form of abated) refers to how someone almost stops breathing through awe, terror, anxiety, or extreme anticipation. Perhaps you waited with bated breath as he baited the hook.
Dessert vs. Desert
Wrong: She wandered for days, lost in the dessert.
Right: She wandered for days, lost in the desert.
Unless she was eating the world’s largest hot fudge sundae, she was lost in a desert (an extremely dry place that supports only sparse vegetation), not a dessert (the final course of a meal).
Site vs. Sight vs. Cite
Wrong: Check out my web sight.
Right: Check out my web site.
A site (noun) is a location. (“This is the site of our upcoming restaurant.”) A sight (noun) is a vision or a glimpse of something. (“She was quite a sight in that dress.”) Cite isn’t even a noun, it’s a verb. It means to quote as an authority (“Cite your sources.”), to commend for outstanding service (“He was cited for bravery.”) or to summon to court (“She was cited for speeding.”). The noun form of cite is citation. (Isn’t it interesting how a citation for bravery can be a good thing while a citation for speeding is a bad thing?)
Tact vs. Tack vs. Tactic
Wrong: I’m going to take a different tact on this problem.
Right: I’m going to take a different tack on this problem.
Right: I’m going to try a different tactic with this problem.
The phrase “taking a different tack” comes from nautical terminology meaning a course run obliquely against the wind in a zigzag fashion. So, taking a different tack means to try another approach or come at the problem from a different direction. Tact, on the other hand, is a sense of what’s appropriate or a skill with delicate situations. A tactic is a plan or procedure to attain a goal. A person of tact, then, might try a different tack as a tactic for achieving victory.
Check out the Look Inside feature for hundreds of other examples.
FREQUENTLY MISUSED AND MISSPELLED WORDS AND PHRASES (and how to use them correctly) is available on Amazon in 12 countries: http://hyperurl.co/FrequentlyMisusedWrd. To find out more about my books, go to my website: http://MarkTerenceChapman.com.