Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The helpful Klown ... since I care ... I mean ... because I care

Eight common grammar pitfalls

1. Fewer and Less

If something can be quantified, the correct word choice is either “few” or “fewer.” If it can only be talked about hypothetically, “less” is a better choice. If you have fewer travel assignments next year, you’ll be spending less time in airports.

2. Farther and Further

Much like the previous example, the difference between these two words is that “farther” can be quantified, while “further” cannot. It’s accurate to say that if you fly farther for your next business trip, the resulting airline miles will take you further.

3. Since and Because

While “since” is used to refer to the events that followed a given time, “because” should exclusively refer to causation. Since you switched to a worldwide chauffeured transportation vendor you’ve spent less time booking car service, because of their global affiliate network.

4. Impactful

This one is a bit tricky, actually. Something can have an impact, but it’s not accurate to describe it as impactful. It’s not a word, and it shouldn’t be used in any context, no matter how fond you are of buzzwords. In the words of Gingerich, “Seriously, stop saying this.”

5. Nauseous

Something that even professional writers don’t know is the true meaning of the word “nauseous.” It actually means that something or someone has the ability to produce nausea in others, such as food that hasn’t been prepared correctly. If you’re suffering from altitude sickness on a plane, the correct way to describe the sensation is “feeling nauseated.” While it’s highly unlikely that your co-workers will know this intricacy or ever call you out on misusing it, you’ll certainly feel more intelligent when you use the distinction correctly in the future.

6. Affect and Effect

We all had a solid grasp of these two words at some point, probably in the weeks directly leading up to our SAT exams for college. “Affect” is virtually always a verb, and it’s typically used to describe something that influences. If a person has extreme and strained mannerisms, they’re affected. “Effect” is a noun used to describe the outcome. It may be accurate to say that your colleague’s microwaved fish leftovers had a nauseating effect on you.

7. Anxious

There are few words more misused and abused than “anxious,” which really means “fear, dread, or anxiety.” If you’re eagerly anticipating the end of your meeting and the bagel you’ll purchase afterwards, your feelings are better described as “excited.” Unless you’re frightened of what could happen at the end, you’re probably not anxious for the end of the meeting.

8. Disinterested and Uninterested

While these two words are often misused, there’s a difference. If someone is disinterested, they have no particular dedication to a cause. Expert witnesses are called to testify in courts because they’re disinterested in the case outcome and won’t change their testimony accordingly. If someone has no desire to testify, they’re uninterested in attending.

From here: 

Anyone else notice the irony of #8 in this post?

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