Gray Matter *

#BadWordWednesday : Farther v. Further

This should be easy-peasy to remember:

Farther = distance = imagine the prefix being the word far => FARther

Further = continuance = imagine it is missing the word more as a suffix => furtherMORE

Comment below using both of these persnickerty words in one grammatically correct sentence and I will edit this post featuring your submission.

Further, there will be a gift card involved that would take you farther up the road to Starbucks to spend it.


#MondayMindfulness | Accomplishments

No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you. – Althea Gibson

#FixItFriday : Unthaw


Think about it. If thaw is to melt ice from the meat, to unthaw would mean to refreeze the meat. Every decent cook knows that once meat is thawed it is to be cooked, not refrozen uncooked — the certain path to freezer burn. Therefore to thaw then unthaw (not a real word) is to refreeze not to thaw (the only word).

Photo by stevendepolo

#BadWordWednesday : Your v. You’re

Your = one word = pronoun = states that you own or posess something

e.g., your page, your name, your date, your shoes, your car

You’re = two words = You  are = verb = states that you are involved in some action

e.g., you are welcome, you are watching, you are wonderful, you are brilliant

Two words with an apostrophe rule: if you can use the two words, use them instead of contractions; if you can use the two words, you may correctly use the contractions instead.


#MondayMindfulness | Failure

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs

#FixItFriday : Ellipses

Ellipses is a three-dot placeholder for omitted text or ideas.

Ellipses … those three dots to the left.

Rule 1.  Three dots.  Always. Only. No more. No less.

Rule 2.  Insert a space before and after the ellipses.

Ellipses and a period, those four dots to the right ….

Rule 1.  Three dots. Always. Except at the end of a sentence.

Rule 2.  Insert a space between the last word and the ellipses.

Rule 3.  Do not insert a space between the ellipses and a period.

Easiest fix:  use the full quote, complete the thought, or itemize the list instead of using the ellipses as a placeholder.

Photo by webtreats

#BadWordWednesday : There, Their, They’re

These are they of which I never grow tired of policing. Once again:

There = a location = think of HERE with  a T before it = There

Their = a person = think of HEIR with a T before it = Their

They’re = actually the contracted subject and verb They and are = when in doubt, don’t = instead write out the two words = They are = if it makes sense that way, then you may correctly use They’re.

Let’s review:

tHERE = there or here are both locations

tHEIR = their and heir are both people

They’RE = two words, use them

Bookmark and refer to this frequently for tweets and status updates, for masters’ thesis and dissertations, for articles you send me to edit — oh wait, maybe not for articles you send me to edit!
HIRE iWrite.Solutions today!

#MondayMindfulness | Conscience

I did what my conscience told me to do, and you can’t fail if you do that. – Anita Hill

#FixItFriday : Semicolon

The winking eye emoticon in social media has more humble origins in grammar as a semicolon— a punctuation mark used to separate two statements which, in fact, can standalone as two separate sentences.

; = winking eye emoticon means I am flirting with you.

I am not flirting; I am just teaching grammar. = two related statements which can be punctuated as two sentences.

I am not flirting. I am just teaching grammar.  =  two related sentences which can be punctuated as a one statement.

And this is just wrong and rude:  I am not flirting; maybe you should just learn grammar.  =  Ah, no; but a comma could fix this.


Photo by One Way Stock

#BadWordWednesday : Discreet v. Discrete


Discreet essentially means “hold your cards close to your chest.”

Discrete essentially means “go to your separate corners.”

Remember this:

In discreet, the two ee’s are like two eyes — what do you really want them to see?

We had to be discreet in planning Mom’s retirement party. 

With discrete, the two ee’s are separated — like a sectional plate at a church bar-be-que.

Kim arranged the wedding guests into three discrete sections: bride’s friends, groom’s friends, and feuding family. 

So, think it through, do you want to keep your subjects secretive or separate; discrEEt or discrEtE?


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