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Alliterate, literate or illiterate

Alliterate, literate and illiterate are words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. They are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words alliterate, literate and illiterate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Alliterate means to use alliteration or to demonstrate alliteration. Alliteration is the use of the same consonant sound at the beginning of successive words or the beginning of successive … [Read more...]

Ahead of the curve vs ahead of the curb

Ahead of the curve is an idiom that is most probably derived from the military. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of the … [Read more...]

Pull out all the stops

Pull out all the stops is an idiom that has been in general use since 1909, though its origin may be found in the 1860s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal … [Read more...]

Subordinating conjunctions

The term subordinating conjunctions is an easy one to understand. Everyone uses subordinating conjunctions, also known as subordinate conjunctions, in their everyday speech, though they may not know what is a subordinating conjunction. We will examine the function of a subordinating conjunction or subordinate conjunction, how to identify what is a subordinate conjunction, provide a list of subordinating conjunctions and show some examples of subordinating conjunctions in sentences. What's a … [Read more...]

Hoping vs hopping

People often confuse the words hoping and hopping. However, there are a few ways to know how to spell the word that you want to use, either hoping or hopping. We will examine the meanings of these words, where they came from, the spelling rules that will help you know which word you want to use between the choices hopping vs hoping, and some examples of their use in sentences. One may define hoping as desiring a particular thing to happen. Another hoping definition is wanting a particular … [Read more...]

Was vs were

Many people are confused as to when to use the verb was and when to use the verb were. There is sometimes a great debate concerning the use of was vs were, but the rules for using these terms are clear. We will examine how to use was or were, and look at some examples of the use of the words was and were in a sentence or two. Was and were are past tenses of the verb to be. The verb to be is an irregular verb, which is a verb that does not follow any pattern or rules in its conjugation. The … [Read more...]

Not all it’s cracked up to be

The idiom not all it's cracked up to be is based on an archaic meaning of the word crack. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken in conversation or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when … [Read more...]

Not worth a plugged nickel and not worth a plug nickel

Not worth a plugged nickel and not worth a plug nickel are variations of an idiom that originated in the United States after the turn of the twentieth century. We will examine the definition of the phrase not worth a plugged nickel and the variant not worth a plug nickel, where these idioms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. The phrases not worth a plugged nickel and not worth a plug nickel describe something that is worthless, something that is valueless, something that … [Read more...]

Friar vs fryer

Friar and fryer are two words that are spelled and pronounced in the same manner, but have very different meanings, which means they are homophones. We will examine the definitions of the words friar and fryer, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A friar is a member of one of the male religious orders known as the mendicant orders. The mendicant orders are the Carmelites, the Franciscans, the Augustianians and the Dominicans. These religious orders were … [Read more...]

Above one’s pay grade

Above one's pay grade is an idiom that first appeared in the twentieth century. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. An idiom can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the origin of the … [Read more...]

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