Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: The Letter 'N'

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?


The letter “N” has some definite quirks. For example, did you know there’s an “e” in noticeable? And that’s just the beginning. Here are some interesting things about words that begin with “N.”

Naturalist, naturist

A naturalist is one who studies natural history or an amateur who observes, photographs, draws, or writes about nature. 

A naturist is a nature worshipper or a nudist. 

Nauseous, nauseated

People often say something made them nauseous. Technically, that’s incorrect. Whatever is nauseous induces the feeling is nausea, according to The Chicago Manual of Style. The actual act of feeling sick to one’s stomach is to be nauseated

CMS recommends skipping nauseous altogether and sticking to nauseated and its adjective form of nauseating. I think that’s a pretty safe bet. 

Naval, navel

Naval refers to the Navy or something nautical.

Navel is the belly button.


You would think this word has something to do with noise, right? Nope. 

Noisome means something noxious, harmful, offensive to the senses (especially the sense of smell), and highly obnoxious or objectionable, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary app.

Notable, noticeable, noteworthy

If something is notable, it is readily noticed. This applies to physical things and to qualities.

Noticeable means something is detectable with the senses.

To say something is noteworthy is to say it is remarkable. 

One word, no hyphen


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These five books are on my desk at all times. Maybe they'll help you as well.

Strunk and White's The Elements of Style


A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.


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