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?
Today, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 tackles word pairings that often cause confusion, such as adverse and averse, accept and except, and arbitrate and mediate, as well as the nagging question of when to use awhile versus a while.
Which is correct?
Accept or except?
Accept is a verb that means to receive.
John accepted the cake from Susan, despite its unusual smell.
Except means to leave out of or exclude.
All of the guests except Susan became ill after eating the cake.
Adverse or averse?
Adverse is an adjective that means unfavorable or harmful.
The cake had an adverse effect on the party guests.
Averse is an adjective that means reluctant or disinclined.
Susan is averse to answering questions about the cake.
Allude, elude, or refer?
Allude is to use an indirect reference.
Susan alluded to adding traces of rat poisoning in the cake.
Refer is to mention something directly.
Susan referred to the time when she caught John cheating with Josie.
Elude is to escape.
Susan eluded the police.
Arbitrate or mediate?
There is a subtle difference. Arbitrate means to hear evidence from all concerned parties, then make a decision or ruling. To mediate is to listen to both parties and try to bring them to an agreement.
A mutually agreed upon party, Sid mediated John and Susan's divorce proceedings to no avail, so they brought in Shelby, who arbitrated the case.
Anybody, any body, anyone, or any one?
Use one word for an indefinite reference.
Anyone can see Susan is crazy.
The two-word phrase is used to single out someone or something.
Any one of them could testify that Susan tried to poison John.
Grammar Nerd Question of the Week:
Can anyone tell me what is the difference between aural and oral?