Devil is in the details vs. God is in the detail


The idiom the devil is in the details means that problems can arise from small things. Usually it is also a caution to pay attention. An older, and slightly more common, phrase God is in the detail means that attention paid to small things has big rewards. The two phrases seem to have originated … [Read more...]


Aberrant describes something as deviating from the norm. Another form is aberrational, which has a slightly different meaning as it is relating to the word aberration. A rare form is aberrative or tending to deviate from norms. Examples Durst family outcast Robert Durst’s aberrant behavior … [Read more...]

Bough vs. bow

A bough (pronounced /bau/) is a main branch of a tree. Its homonym bow has several meanings including: to quit a competition, to bend the body in an act of submission or reverence, to acknowledge applause, or debut. Bow can be pronounced /bo/ and has an alternate meaning. It can be a tie of a … [Read more...]

Interview with Constance Hale

Constance Hale

Please meet Constance Hale, writer, hula dancer and author of the very popular grammar and writing blog, Sin and Syntax. Please introduce yourself and provide some background information. I have written three books on writing: The first is Wired Style, the second is Sin and Syntax, and the … [Read more...]

Chips vs. fries

North American fries (or French fries) are sticks of fried potato served hot. Outside of North America, namely the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, these fried pieces of potato are called chips. (Side note: a chippy is a place that sells fish and chips.) However, to North … [Read more...]


A firebrand is someone who is passionate and enacts change in a particular cause. It can also be a piece of burning wood. Examples Firebrand figures with extremist views about abortion laws, women’s rights and the family unit are controversially backing a families’ forum that three federal … [Read more...]


The dictionary lists America is the landmass consisting of North and South America. However, we were not able to find one example if it being used in this way, so it is our belief that this definition will become obsolete sooner rather than later. America is commonly used as a name for the United … [Read more...]


A patriot is someone who supports his or her country, even to defending it against enemies. It is also the trademark name of a missile designed for preemptive strikes. History Patriot comes from the Latin patriota or fellow countryman, and the Greek patris or fatherland. Examples One could be … [Read more...]



Grammarist is not a dictionary-approved word. The term for a person who specializes in grammar is a grammarian. As you can see by this n-gram, its usage has dwindled over time. Examples The grammar debate in marketing is not new. The Winston cigarette brand was famously taken to task for … [Read more...]

Moose vs. mooses

A moose is a large animal with antlers that is found in the northern forests of America, Europe, and Asia. Its plural is moose, not mooses. Though Mooses is a surname. Examples Moose are less likely to move from the road than deer, so drivers are advised to brake when they see a moose in or near … [Read more...]

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