Actualise vs actualize

To actualize something is to accomplish or complete it. It is always used with an object. British English spells it actualise.  The spelling change extends to all forms (e.g., actualises, actualizes, actualised, actualized, actualisation, actualization, actualising, actualizing). A related term is self-actualized (self-actualise) which means to accomplish or complete oneself to your fullest potential. It has all the same forms as actualize and all the same spelling … [Read more...]

Heads up

Heads up is an interjection used when you need to warn someone to look out. A heads-up is the actual warning you gave the individual. This is commonly used in the phrase giving someone a heads-up. While the correct spelling includes the hyphen, actual usage suggests that it will become obsolete some day. Heads-up can also be used as an adjective to describe a person as being cautious or aware of surroundings. Keeping one's head up means to be watchful. Be aware that the verb head can also … [Read more...]

Content or contented

Content has two meanings which are separated by pronunciation. When the stress is placed on the first syllable (con tent), content means materials inside a container or the ideas presented in a speech or written work. These are both nouns. Content with the stress placed on the second syllable (cun tent), means to be happy or satisfied. It can be used as an adverb, adjective, verb, or noun. However, each of these forms has two variations (e.g., contently, contentedly, content, contented, … [Read more...]


Git-go is a variation of the word get-go, which means at the start or beginning. It is usually found in the phrase from the get-go. As a compound noun it is always hyphenated. Get-go is used vastly more often than git-go. The word was first used in the United States in the sixties by an African American writer. There is no conclusive evidence for where the term derived from. One guess is the phrase from the word go and another is a shortened version of get going. Git on its own can be a … [Read more...]

Letter names

Each letter of the English alphabet can be spelled as itself (e.g., a DJ or T-shirt) or it can be spelled out using its name (e.g., a deejay or tee-shirt). Vowels still stand for themselves, and while very rare, the plural of vowels are made by adding -es. In the capitalized form the plurals are made by either -s or -'s (e.g., L's or As). Spelling letters usually occurs in compound names or derivatives. These spellings are different than the phonetic alphabet used to distinguish similar … [Read more...]

Thesauri or thesaurusus

A thesaurus is a reference which allows a person to look up synonyms, and sometimes antonyms, for words or phrases. It comes from the Greek thēsauros, which meant a treasury. The adverbial derivative is thesaural. As with other word that have stayed largely unchanged from their origin in Greek or Latin, the Latin pluralization is correct, thesauri. However, as with other words that have been adopted into the English language for centuries, the English pluralization is also … [Read more...]

Collectible vs collectable

A collectible is something of value either in a collection or to a collector. It can also describe something that is being collected on (i.e., due for payment). The spelling collectable is recognized as correct by the dictionary, though the i spelling occurs twice as often. This spelling variation extends to the derivative collectibility and collectability. In that form the preference switches to the a spelling, though not to such a degree as the adjective form. Examples The FTC said … [Read more...]


Stupefaction is the noun form for the state of being stupefied, which in turn means to be dumbfounded or surprised, or to cause someone to lose their wits or their ability to reason or process information. This noun does not a have a plural form. Stupefactions is incorrect. The peak in popularity for stupefaction occurred around the turn of the twentieth century and has been on a decline since then. The adjective form of stupefy is stupefying.  Most commonly this word is misspelled and … [Read more...]


A quay is a landing place built on the edge of a body of water, used primarily to load and unload items and people onto and from vessels. The plural is quays. It is only capitalized when it is part of a proper name. It is more commonly used outside of the United States, which prefers the term dock. The derivative quayage is the payment a customer would give to use a quay. This word can be pronounced three different ways (e.g., key, kay, and kway). Because of this, it may have a homonym … [Read more...]


A screed is a long, often boring, and sometimes angry letter or discourse. It is also a device, usually a piece of wood, that is used to level wet concrete or the thickness of a plaster wall. It is not a verb, or the past tense of scree, which is in fact a group of rocks on a mountainside. It comes from the same root as shred, namely the Middle English word screde, which was a strip of something or a small part. Examples Reeling in the wake of James' decision, Grant took Riley's offer … [Read more...]

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