Editing for Grammarphobes: More Commonly Misused Words

There are so many, I could go on with this topic for pages and pages, but let’s go with five for today. I like to sprinkle them in every few weeks.


A premier is serves as the first minister in a national government that has a council of ministers. Prime minister is a synonym of premier.

Premiere is a first performance, whether it refers to a movie, play or symphony.


Alumnus is a male graduate of a school, college or university. The plural is alumni.

Alumna is a female graduate. The plural is alumnae.

If there is a mixed group of men and women, alumni is used.


Capital refers to a city in which the seat of government is located. It also describes money and resources used by a business or individual.

The Capitol is the building where lawmakers meet in Washington, D.C.


Acute means sharp, or when referring to an illness, one that worsens quickly and reaches a crisis.

Chronic means long-lasting or lingering.

Immigration is arriving at a country.

Emigration is leaving a country.


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