Orthopedic vs. orthopaedic

Orthopedic is the Americanized version of the word orthopaedic. Both refer to the medical specialty focusing on the body’s musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Orthopaedic comes from the Greek orthos (straight) and paidion (child), which … [Read more...]

Manner vs. manor

A manner is (1) a way of doing something, (2) a bearing or demeanor, and (3) a type. The plural form, manners, refers to a manner of behavior considered to be social correct. Constructions involving manner can often be shortened to single adverbs. For example, in a calm manner and in a public … [Read more...]

Tenant vs. tenet

A tenet is a principle held as being true, especially by an organization or a group of people. A tenant is (1) someone who pays rent to occupy property; (2) a dweller in a place; and, (3) in law, one who holds or possesses lands, tenements, or property by any kind of title. Examples Tenet He … [Read more...]

Rivaled/rivaling vs. rivalled/rivalling

In American English, the verb rival is usually inflected rivaled and rivaling, with one l. Outside the U.S., the more traditional double-l forms, rivalled and rivalling, are standard. Rival is one of a class of l-ending verbs whose inflected forms have lost the second l in American English. This … [Read more...]

Lay out vs. layout

Lay out is a phrasal verb meaning (1) to make a plan, (2) to knock to the ground, (3) to explain or describe, (4) to display, (5) to arrange, and (6) to prepare a corpse for a funeral. Like many phrasal verbs, it has a corresponding one-word form that functions as both a noun and an adjective but … [Read more...]

Aid vs. aide

An aide is an assistant or helper. The word always refers to a person. Aid is a noun referring to (1) assistance, or (2) something that assists (e.g., a hearing aid or a visual aid), and it's also a verb meaning to assist. Some dictionaries list aid as a variant of aide, but the words are generally … [Read more...]

Idle, idol, idyll

An idol is an object of worship. The word functions only as a noun. Idle has several definitions, including (1) inactive, (2) to pass time without doing work, (3) to run (a motor vehicle) while out of gear or not in motion, (4) to make inactive, and (5) a state of idling. It's usually an adjective, … [Read more...]

Enrol vs. enroll

The verb meaning to sign up or to register is spelled enroll in the U.S. Enrol, with one l, is the preferred spelling outside North America. The more American spelling is now preferred in Canadian news publications, but enrol was traditionally more common and still appears in many contexts. The … [Read more...]

Teeth vs. teethe

Teeth is the plural of tooth. It's only a noun. Teethe, with that third e, is a verb meaning to grow teeth. It's inflected teething, teethed, and teethes. Teethe is often used metaphorically to mean to pass through early stages of development. This sense is especially common in phrases such as … [Read more...]

Borough, burro, burrow

A burro is a small donkey. Burrow means (1) a hole or tunnel, or (2) to dig a hole or tunnel. A third homophone is borough (sometimes shortened to boro in the U.S.), which is primarily a noun referring to administrative divisions within some towns, cities, and states. The words are homophones or … [Read more...]

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