Cloth vs clothes

A cloth is a piece of fabric, a material of fibers woven together. It is used to make clothes, which are pieces of cloth sewn together to wear on your body. Sometimes clothes are referred to as clothing, which dispenses with the sometimes troublesome plural noun. The plural of cloth is cloths. And the plural of clothes is clothes.  To clothe someone is to put clothes on him or her. Occasionally the cloth refers to the station or power that a pastor or preacher of the Christian faith … [Read more...]

Nowadays, anymore, or any more

Nowadays is an adverb used to say something is done now or in the current time. It is one word like heretofore and wheresoever. Nowdays or now a days are misspellings, even though the origin of the word is a phrase that was spelled as separate words (now a dayes). A synonym for this term is anymore. It can mean exactly the same as nowadays, or it can mean no longer (e.g., not moving anymore). This is sometimes seen as two words, but the popularity of the single word form has almost … [Read more...]

Dietician or dietitian

Dietician is a variant spelling of dietitian. A dietitian is someone who is employed to tell others about their diet, or about the way they eat. They study dietetics. The t spelling is used about three times as much as the c spelling. Examples A dietitian from Morris Hospital will offer tips to help people with diabetes eat sensibly through the holiday season while still enjoying social gatherings during a free program from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in Whitman Assembly Room 1 at Morris … [Read more...]

Operationalise or operationalize

To operationalize something is to make it operational, or to put it into use. Inside the Unites States it is spelled with a z in all its forms. While outside the United States it is spelled operationalise, operationalises, etc. The noun form is operationalization (or operationalisation). Examples He says the technology is simple to use, but can be a challenge to operationalize. [News Works] The solicitor general has repeatedly said that the new agreement signed this year "simply … [Read more...]

Ferment or foment

For something to ferment, its chemical structure changes, and the resulting change sometimes contains alcohol. The process can also be called fermentation.  Something can be described as fermentable. To cause something to foment is to agitate it or increase its growth. There is a pejorative connotation with this word and its synonyms include incite. Someone who foments something or someone is called a fomenter. In some instances ferment can be a synonym for foment, but foment does … [Read more...]

Go down a treat

For something to go down  a treat it goes over very well with an audience, or has a good outcome. It is used most outside of the United States and can be used to describe food or anything really. The first term conjugates in this phrase to make went down a treat, goes down a treat, going down a treat, etc. The word treat  is always singular. A variation is for something to work a treat, which means it does its intended function very well. Examples We are grateful that she has forked out … [Read more...]

Maximise or maximize

To maximise something is to use it to its fullest or to get the most out of it, whether it be a job, a computer, or a bar of soap. If you maximise something you could also be increasing it to its fullest. One can be a maximiser and you could refer to your activity as maximisation. The s spelling is for outside the United States. While inside the Unites we spell all the variations with a z. Examples Add mirrors. They are an easy way to maximise light and create a feeling of space. [Biz … [Read more...]


Certifiable is one of those interesting words which has two meanings that are completely opposed. On the one hand, certifiable means to be mentally ill or without the ability to make logical and sensible decisions. The person could be certified as crazy in a mental institution. On the other hand, certifiable may also mean the person or object is able to be certified, or able to be deemed real or genuine. The teacher who is ready to take his certification exam is certifiable. The large ruby … [Read more...]

Accent vs accentuate


To accent something is to emphasize it or put it at the forefront. In pronunciation it also means putting more emphasis or force on one syllable. As a noun, accent means the way a certain group of people talk that is attributed to where they live. It also describes the syllable in a word which is said with greater emphasis (e.g., the accent is on the second syllable). The noun form may also describe the mark above certain characters from other languages, such as the tilde, ˜. However, this … [Read more...]

Interview with Pat O’Conner

Patricia O'Conner

Please meet Patricia T. O'Conner, author of the national bestseller, Woe Is I and writer of the very popular blog, Grammarphobia. Please introduce yourself and provide some background information. I’m an author and a blogger, but in my previous life I was a newspaper journalist. At the Wall Street Journal in the early 1980s, I was an editor on the national desk and also wrote the Page 1 “Worldwide” column. Later I moved to the New York Times, where I spent many years as a staff editor on the … [Read more...]

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