Since vs because

Since can act as an adverb or a conjunction. In either case it can mean from a certain time in the past until the present, or after a certain time in the past. When used as a conjunction it can be used as a synonym for because. Because is a conjunction which can either introduce an explanation or reason for something. It is also a synonym for since. Traditionally there was a distinction between the two; however, they are interchangeable now. The one caveat is since's dual definitions. … [Read more...]

Compared to or compared with

To compare two things is to evaluate them in reference to each other, their similarities and their differences. Both prepositions to and with may be used with this verb (e.g., compared to and compared with). In most situations they can be interchangeable and your meaning will be clear. A century ago, with was the favorite. Now it has fallen out of favor and compared to is found more often. If you or your audience are focused on nuances, there is a traditional distinction between the two … [Read more...]

Alliteration vs assonance

Alliteration is a noun used for the concept of words starting with the same phonetic sound and these words placed in a row or close together. Alliterate is the verb form of alliteration. To alliterate is to create alliteration either with spoken language or written words. The adjective form is alliterative, and the adverb is alliteratively. Assonance is the noun used to describe repetitive sounds in words, specifically vowels, which happen at any point in the word. The verb is assonate, … [Read more...]

None are or none is

None is a pronoun most of the time. It means nothing, zero, no one, or not any part. Some believe it can only be singular in construction, but that is not true. Most seem to think that because none can mean 'not one' that it is always singular, but none can also mean 'not any'. See the examples for uses in plural or singular. Examples Singular But on Friday, which was the last day of filing nominations, among the 24 candidates who filed their nominations from the area none was from the … [Read more...]

Stick to, stick by, or stick with

To stick is to attach to something or not move. There are three prepositions that are commonly used with this verb, by, with, and to, which change the verb to a phrasal verb. For the most part these can be used interchangeably to mean remain loyal or be persistent, especially if there is hardship involved. In each phrasal verb, stick can take the usual formations of sticks, stuck, and sticking. A related phrase stick to your guns means to stay confident in a decision and not be swayed by … [Read more...]

Finite verb

  A finite verb is a verb which serves as a predicate verb (i.e., it has a subject and has the ability to function as the root of an independent clause). Most of verbs can present in a finite and non-finite form (where the verb does not serve as a predicate and cannot support an independent clause). The subject of a finite verb can be stated or implied. In English the role of a finite verb is subtle, but in other languages, the finite form of a verb can state gender, person (e.g., … [Read more...]

Blew, blown, or blowed

  As a verb, to blow means, in its most common definition, is for air to move either by nature (e.g., the wind or a breeze) or for a person to push air out of his or her mouth. To blow past something is to move quickly beyond it. The past tense is blew an the past participle is blown (e.g., I have blown a tire.). While dictionaries will say that blowed  is a past tense form of blow, however, most readers will see this as incorrect. In some slang blowed is used to mean an event was awful, … [Read more...]

Slayed or slew


To slay something can mean to kill it or to amuse it. The past tense of the first meaning is slew, while the past tense of the second meaning is slayed. The popularity of the word slayed has grown considerable in the last century, and my guess would be that the colloquially usage of the word will make it into the dictionaries eventually.   Also, keep in mind that slew has other meanings such as, a sudden change in direction. A slew of things is a large amount. Examples "She … [Read more...]

Collective nouns

Collective nouns are countable nouns that refer to groups of people, objects, or things. A collective noun differs from a mass noun (a noun that cannot be counted---e.g., love, water, evidence) because it can be pluralized. For example, each of these collective nouns refers to a group but can itself be pluralized: band faculty family government group herd mob orchestra staff team Singular vs. plural verbs The consensus among English grammar and usage authorities is … [Read more...]

Indefinite articles

An indefinite article is a limiting adjective that precedes an unspecified thing, person, or idea. In English, the only indefinite articles are a and an. The article always comes first in its noun phrase, sometimes preceding other adjectives in the phrase (for example, a precedes the adjective black in a black dog). A is used when the following word begins with a consonant sound (e.g., a dog, a historic event, a yeti), and an is the correct article when the following word begins with a vowel … [Read more...]

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