May be or maybe

May be designates a possibility. When written as two separate words, may be is used as a verb. If you can substitute the words could be or might be in your sentence, then you are using may be as a verb and it should be written as two separate words. Maybe is an adverb which means possibly or perhaps. If you can substitute the word perhaps in your sentence, then you are using maybe as an adverb and it should be written as one word. Examples Ted Cruz’s book royalties may be higher than … [Read more...]

Inpatient or outpatient

An inpatient is a person who takes up residence in a hospital while undergoing treatment, the inpatient stays in the hospital for at least one night. Inpatient is also used as an adjective to modify what sort of care a person is receiving or may expect to receive. An outpatient is treated in the hospital and released, an outpatient does not spend the night in the hospital. Outpatient is also used as an adjective to modify what sort of care a person is receiving or may expect to … [Read more...]

Autobiography vs biography

An autobiography is a literary genre that is the story of a person's life written by that person, the one who lived the life. The plural is autobiographies, the adjectives are autobiographical and autobiographic, the adverb is autobiographically. Autobiography comes from the Greek auto- which means regarding oneself, bio- which means life and -graphia which means writing, the word was coined in 1809. A biography is a literary genre that is the story of a person's life written by someone else … [Read more...]

Cease and desist

Cease and desist is a legal term signifying an enforceable order by a court or government agency demanding someone cease conducting a certain action, such as attempting to contact someone who does not wish to be contacted. A cease and desist letter is also known as an infringement letter or demand letter. Cease and desist is not a phrase used in day-to-day conversation or non-legal circumstances, it is best to use the word stop in order to ask someone to quit indulging in an annoying … [Read more...]

Sang vs sung

Sang is the simple past tense of sing, which means to make musical sounds with the voice. It is an intransitive verb, which means it is a verb which takes an object. Sung is the past participle of sing. It is a verb that may not stand on its own, it must take an auxilliary, "helping" verb such as variants of "to have" and "to be". Sung is used in the past tense as well as present pefect tense. If using the word sung, it must be accompanied by an auxilliary verb. Examples When Canadian … [Read more...]


Superstorm is an unusually large storm, often one resulting from multiple storms that have joined forces. A superstorm is severe and affects a large area. The term may be applied to a rain storm, wind storm, snow storm or sand storm. Superstorm is not a meteorological term. It is often used by journalists, but superstorm is not a term found in the Meteorological Society's Glossary of Meteorology. Meteorologists classify storms scientifically, with the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the … [Read more...]

Cheek to cheek vs cheek-to-cheek

Cheek to cheek is a phrase that refers to two people with their heads positioned closely together, cheek to cheek nearly always describes two people who are dancing with their bodies held closely together in an intimate fashion. If the phrase cheek to cheek is used after the word it modifies and describes the dancing (they danced cheek to cheek), then it is used as an adverb and is not hyphenated. If the phrase cheek to cheek is used before the word it modifies and describes the dancers, … [Read more...]

Heavens to Murgatroyd

Heavens to Murgatroyd is a cry of surprise. The American exclamation Heavens to Murgatroyd was made popular by Snagglepuss, a cartoon pink mountain lion created by Hanna-Barbera in 1959. Snagglepuss' voice was patterned on the voice of actor Bert Lahr. Heavens to Murgatroyd carries no further meaning than similar expressions such as Heavens to Betsy and Holy Cow. The phrase Heavens to Murgatroyd first appears in the 1944 film Meet the People, it was uttered by the character portrayed by Bert … [Read more...]

Cauterize vs cauterise

Cauterize means to burn the skin or a wound with a hot instrument or caustic substance.  Cauterizing eliminates necrotic tissue to prevent gangrene and infections, cauterizing also stops bleeding.  Cauterize is a transitive verb. Cauterize is the North American spelling, related words are cauterizes, cauterized, cauterizing and cauterization. Cauterise is an accepted British spelling. Related words are cauterises, cauterised, cauterising and cauterisation. The American spelling of cauterize … [Read more...]

Ceremonial vs ceremonious

Ceremonial means being used for or relating to a formal ritual or event. Ceremonial may also mean a position that bestows only nominal authority or power. Ceremonial is an adjective, a word that modifies a noun. Ceremonial comes from the Latin, caerimonia which means religious worship. Ceremonious means pertaining to or appropriate for a formal ritual or event. Ceremonious may also mean overly polite. Ceremonious is an adjective, a word that modifies a noun. Ceremonious comes the French … [Read more...]

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