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Quick entries: O

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Oasis: plural oases. Off (first off, second off, etc.): First off, second off, etc. mean the same as first of all, second of all, etc., but they are more colloquial. Once and a while: mondegreen for once in a while. Once in a lifetime vs. once-in-a-lifetime: Hyphenate it if it comes … [Read more...]

Quick entries: N

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Nascent: just coming into existence, emerging, or being born. Nemesis: (1) an agent of retribution or vengeance, (2) a source of harm or setbacks. The plural is nemeses (a very welcome irregular plural, as nemesises doesn't exactly roll off the tongue). Neutralise vs. neutralize: In the U.S. … [Read more...]

Quick entries: M

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Machiavellian: marked by cunning trickery, especially in politics or government. Machine gun vs. machinegun: machine gun is two words as a noun phrase; machinegun is the verb for to shoot with a machine gun. Make pretend: make it pretend or make believe. Make up vs. makeup: make up is the … [Read more...]

Quick entries: J, K, L

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been well researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Jam: One's jam is a song, especially one that is soulful or has a beat, that has special meaning, inspires deep feelings, or inspires dancing. Jinx: to give bad luck. Jones: to have a strong desire for something. One who is jonesing for something is filled with obsessive want. The word is … [Read more...]

Quick entries: I

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Ibid.: abbreviation of Latin ibidem, meaning the same place. It's used in footnotes, endnotes, and citations to refer to the preceding note. Iconic: originally meant bearing great symbolic weight or representing its time or place. But now it's usually just a synonym of famous. Ideation: the … [Read more...]

Quick entries: H

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Halcyon: calm and peaceful. Hands-on: When it functions as an adjective (e.g., the activity was hands-on), give it a hyphen. Happy median vs. happy medium: Happy median makes sense logically, but happy medium is the common phrase meaning a course or solution that avoids … [Read more...]

Quick entries: G

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Gage, gauge, gouge: Gage is rare. It means something given as security for an obligation. Gauge relates to measurements. Gouge relates to chiseling, scooping, and digging. Galumph: a verb meaning to move clumsily. Gambol: (to playfully skip or frolic about) makes gamboled and gamboling in … [Read more...]

Quick entries: F

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Face lift, face-lift, facelift: All three forms are common, but the one-word form will win in the end. Facetious vs. fatuous: Facetious: jocular or sarcastic, often but not necessarily in a mocking way. Fatuous: smugly foolish. Faeces vs. feces: feces in North America; faeces everywhere … [Read more...]

Quick entries: E

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. Each other: not eachother. Each other's: other is singular in this phrase, so it is made possessive by adding 's. Ecumenical: universal. Effete: (1) lacking vitality, (2) decadent, or (3) effeminate. The last sense is born from long misuse of the word in place of effeminate. Elephant … [Read more...]

Quick entries: D

Note: Many of the entries here will eventually become full-length posts. Some are rough and have not been fully researched. If you have any corrections or would like to add anything, please comment. (The) dark continent: an antiquated, now offensive term for Africa. Don't use it. Day care vs. daycare: The two-word form prevails in American English. Both are common in other varieties of English. Debark vs. disembark: Disembark: (1) to leave a craft; (2) to take ashore. Debark: (1) to … [Read more...]

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