T

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  • T-shirt, t-shirt, tee-shirt, tee shirtT-Shirt with a capital T is the most common form.
  • Tack vs. tactTact is sensitivity in social situations. A tack is a course or an approach. When switching to a different approach, one changes tack, not tact.
  • Tail vs. taleTail: something at the rear of something else. Tale: a story.
  • Take over vs. takeoverTake over is a phrasal verb. Takeover is a noun or an adjective, never a verb.
  • Takeaway and takeouttakeout in the U.S. and usually in Canada; takeaway everywhere else.
  • Taken abacksurprised or disconcerted.
  • Teeth vs. teetheTeeth (n.): plural of tooth. Teethe (v.): to grow teeth.
  • Teetotaler, teetotallerone who abstains from alcoholic beverages. Teetotaler in the U.S.; teetotaller outside the U.S.
  • Telegram vs. telegraphTelegraph is the technology, and the word doubles as a verb meaning (1) to send a telegram, and (2) to make known in advance. A telegram is a message sent via telegraph.
  • Tenant vs. tenetTenet: a principle held as being true. Tenant: one who occupies a place.
  • TerminateIt's overharsh when used with a person as its direct object.
  • Terza rima
  • Testament vs. testimonyTestimony: a declaration of truth or fact. Testament: something that serves as proof or evidence.
  • Tete-a-tetea meeting or private conversation between two people.
  • Textish
  • Than vs. thenThen is mainly an adverb used to situation actions in time. Than is a conjunction used mainly in making comparisons.
  • That vs. whichThey are often interchangeable, but that usually introduces restrictive clauses, and which usually introduces nonrestrictive ones.
  • That vs. whoThat is generally used for inanimate things and animals, and who for humans, but this non-rule is widely broken.
  • That whichIt can often be shortened to a one-word equivalent.
  • The $64,000 questionthe crucial or essential question.
  • The BronxAs a noun, it takes the definite article (which is uncapitalized). As an adjective, it goes without the article.
  • The die is castThere is no going back.
  • The lateIt is a respectful way of saying "recently deceased."
  • The ruba difficulty or impediment.
  • Theater vs. theatretheater in the U.S.; theatre everywhere else.
  • Their, them, themselves, they (as singular pronouns)They will continue to face resistance in some circles, but they are well-established in general usage.
  • Their, there, they'reTheir: possessive of they. There: a versatile adverb, noun, and pronoun. They're: contraction of they are.
  • ThereforeIt is often at the center of run-on sentences.
  • Third railan issue no one wants to touch.
  • Tho, althoThey are likely to be considered out of place in formal writing.
  • Threw vs. throughThrew: past tense of throw. Through (prep.): in one side and out the other.
  • Through vs. thruThe longer form is still preferred by a large margin.
  • Throw under the bus1. to betray; 2. to callously dispose of; 3. to pass blame onto another for selfish reasons. It is overused.
  • Thrust, thrustedThe verb is usually uninflected.
  • ThuslyIt's not wrong, but it can always give way to thus, which is an adverb in its own right.
  • Tic vs. tickTic: 1. a spasmodic muscle movement; 2. a recurrent trait or quirk. Tick: 1. a clicking sound; 2. a moment; 3. a mark used to check off an item; 4. a bloodsucking insect or arachnid.
  • Tidbit vs. titbittidbit in North America; titbit everywhere else.
  • Till, until, 'tilTill and until bear the same meanings and are always interchangeable. There is no reason to shorten either of them to 'til.
  • Timber vs. timbreTimbre: tone quality. Timber: wood.
  • Timeout vs. time outOutside North America, it's always two words. In North America, it's one word in sports and two words in all other contexts.
  • Timpanum, timpani, tympanum, tympaniA kettledrum is a timpanum. Multiple kettledrums are timpani. For senses of the word unrelated to music, tympanum and tympani are the preferred spellings.
  • Tire vs. tyretire in North America; tyre outside North America.
  • Title capitalization
  • To a Tperfectly or exactly.
  • To bootin addition, besides.
  • To vs. tooTo: a versatile preposition with many definitions. Too: 1. also; 2. excessively; 3. very.
  • To witnamely or that is to say.
  • Toe the lineto do what is expected or to follow rules.
  • Toilettethe act or process of dressing or grooming oneself.
  • Tolerance vs. tolerationToleration is mainly a less common variant, with some exceptions.
  • Ton vs. tonneTon: 2,000 pounds in the U.S. Tonne: a metric ton, or 1,000 kilograms.
  • Tongue-in-cheekmeant ironically or facetiously.
  • Topography vs. typographyTopography: surface features of a place. Typography: the art of typing.
  • Torturous vs. tortuousTorturous: of, related to, or causing torture. Tortuous: twisted, winding, or complicated.
  • Totaled/totaling vs. totalled/totallingtotaled and totaling in the U.S.; totalled and totalling everywhere else.
  • Touch and goA touch-and-go situation is one that is risky or precarious and has a significant chance of failure.
  • Touch base
  • Tough row to hoea large, challenging undertaking.
  • Tour de forcean impressive display of skill, effort, or strength.
  • Toward vs. towardsusually toward in North America, and toward everywhere else, but both appear everywhere.
  • Toxicology vs. toxologyToxicology: the study of poisons and of chemical effects on the human body. Toxology: the study of archery.
  • Transgender, transsexual, transvestiteTransvestite: a person who dresses in a manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex. Transsexual: one who wishes to be considered as a member of the opposite biological sex. Transgender: a general term covering many people who don't conform to traditional gender roles.
  • Translucent vs. transparentTransparent: so clear one can see through as if nothing's there. Translucent: allows light but with diffusion or distortion.
  • Transpireoften just a formal word for happen.
  • Transport vs. transportationtransportation in the U.S. and usually in Canada; transport outside North America.
  • Traveled/traveling vs. travelled/travellingtraveled and traveling in the U.S.; travelled and travelling everywhere else.
  • Trawl vs. trollTrawl: to catch fish with a large net. Troll: to fish by trailing a line behind a boat.
  • TreasurysIn reference to U.S. Treasury bonds, treasury is pluralized in an unconventional way: Treasurys.
  • Treble vs. tripleWhere they have to do with threes, there is no substantive difference between them, but triple is far more common.
  • Trocheein poetry, a metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one.
  • Troop vs. troupe
  • TropeTraditionally, a figure of speech in which a word or phrase conveys a meaning other than its literal sense; in modern use, anything that recurs.
  • Truck withdo business.
  • Trustee vs. trustyTrusty: trustworthy or reliable. Trustee: a person to whom something is trusted.
  • Tsk-tsk1. shame on you; 2. an expression of disappointment or condemnation; 3. to express disappointment or to condemn.
  • Tumor vs. tumourTumor in the U.S.; tumour everywhere else.
  • Tunneled, tunneling vs. tunnelled, tunnellingtunneled and tunneling in the U.S.; tunnelled and tunnelling outside North America. Both forms are common in Canadian writing.
  • Turbid, turgid, torpidTurbid: having sediment. Turgid: 1. bloated; 2. excessively ornate or complex. Torpid: lethargic or sluggish.
  • Turtle, tortoise, terrapinTurtle: an order of reptiles with bony shells. Tortoise: a land-dwelling turtle. Terrapin: a species of turtle native to coastal southern U.S.

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