Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?
Is there anything more embarrassing than using the wrong word? It happens to us all, of course, but it's also a surefire way for you and your writing to lose credibility. Today, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 focuses on some tricky word pairings, which start with the letter "B," that can trip up even the best of us.
Baloney is ridiculous or foolish talk, nonsense.
And although the dictionary lists bologna as a variation of baloney, AP Style states bologna is the word for sausage or lunchmeat.
Beside means at the side of.
Besides means as well or in addition to.
Biannual is twice a year.
Biennial is every two years.
Boat refers to any small watercraft. Ship means a large, seagoing vessel, with the exception of a ferryboat, which has boat in its name just to screw with us, but is, in fact, a larger craft.
According to AP Style, "a boycott is an organized refusal to buy a particular product or service, or to deal with a particular merchant or group of merchants."
AP states an embargo is legal restriction against trade, usually prohibiting goods from entering or leaving a country. It goes on to add the plural is embargoes.
Brahman refers to the priestly Hindu caste, as well as a breed of cattle.
Brahmin, spelled with an i, can be used to describe aristocracy in general, like when people use the term "Boston Brahmin" when speaking of elite members of Boston's traditional upper class, particularly in the 19th century.
These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.
The Bugaboo Review: A lighthearted guide to exterminating confusion about words, spelling, and grammar
Grammar Nerd Question of the Week:
Which is the word for "a fair or market," bizarre or bazaar?