Uncomparable adjectives

Uncomparable adjectives describe absolute states or conditions. Modifiers like more and less do not apply to them, and they don't have comparative and superlative forms. Here are some of the most common uncomparable … [Read more...]


Synecdoche (from Greek, meaning literally simultaneous understanding) is a figure of speech in which one of the following occurs: A part of something is used for the whole (e.g., hands for sailors, Ol' Blue Eyes for Frank Sinatra). A whole is used for a part (e.g., the law for police). A specific is thing is used for a general thing (e.g., John Hancock for signature, Coke for all colas, Wall Street for the financial industry). A non-specific term is used for a specific thing (e.g., the … [Read more...]

Stock, shares

In their strictest financial senses, stock is a mass noun (meaning it can't be plural), and share is a count noun (it can be plural). Shares are units of stock. These writers, for instance, abide by this distinction: Last year, Quest repurchased about 15 million shares of common stock for $750 million. [Dow Jones Newswires] President & CEO Oleg Khaykin sold 6,870 shares of IRF stock on 12/01/2010 at the average price of 28.77. [Guru Focus] Nektar Therapeutics Inc. sold 19 million … [Read more...]

Hardy vs. hearty

Hardy means strong, bold, or capable of prevailing through tough conditions. If it wouldn't make sense to replace hardy with strong or bold, then you probably want hearty, whose main meanings are (1) expressed warmly, (2) providing abundant nourishment, and (3) unequivocal. Think of hardy as related to hard, and hearty as related to heart. Things that are hardy are strong and hard, while things that are hearty often come from the heart, warm the heart, or give heart. It might also help to … [Read more...]

Ax vs. axe

Ax and axe are different spellings of the same word. Axe is standard in varieties of English from outside the U.S. Axe also appears in American English, but the newer spelling, ax, has gained ground over the last half century and is now more common. The distinction extends to compounds involving ax and axe. For instance, Americans often use pickax and broadax, while English speakers elsewhere use pickaxe and broadaxe. Examples For example, these American publications use ax: Legislature: … [Read more...]

Respective, respectively

Both respective (meaning each separately according to its own situation) and its adverbial form, respectively, are often used unnecessarily. The words are called for when the distinction matters, or when not including them could cause confusion---for example: Glen Mazzara and Adam Fierro complete the line-up, writing episodes five and six respectively. [Digital Spy] This respectively is useful because it tells us that the two writers are working separately on these episodes rather than … [Read more...]

Animal adjectives

adjective  accipitrine animal  hawk anserine goose aquiline eagle asinine ass avine bird bovine cow bubaline buffalo cameline camel cancrine crab canine dog caprine goat corvine deer corvine crow, raven crocodiline crocodile elephantine elephant equine horse falconine falcon feline cat ferine any wild … [Read more...]


Data is often treated as a plural noun in writing related to science, mathematics, finance, and computing. Elsewhere, most English speakers treat it as a singular mass noun. This convention is well established and widely followed in both edited and unedited writing. Keep in mind, though, that some people consider the singular data incorrect. This view is based on a misunderstanding of how English develops, but those who hold it tend to feel strongly about it, so we might approach data with … [Read more...]

Hew vs. hue

Definitions and usage Hew: 1. to make or shape with or as with an ax; 2. to adhere or conform strictly (to something). The past tense is hewed. The word is always a verb. The past participle is usually hewed in North America, and usually hewn outside North America. Hue: 1. color; 2. the property of colors by which they can be perceived as within a range between primary colors; 3. appearance, aspect. It is always a noun. Examples Hew With this faith we will be able to hew out of the … [Read more...]

Homely vs. homey

Homey means feeling like home. In British English, homely means the same as homey. But homely is different in American English, where it means plain, simple, or unattractive. It’s often used as a polite way of saying someone is not beautiful. In the U.S., homey is also short for homeboy or homegirl, referring to (1) a friend or acquaintance from one's neighborhood or hometown or (2) a fellow gang member. This term peaked in the 90s and is now only rarely used in a serious … [Read more...]

About Grammarist
Contact | Privacy policy | Home
© Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist