Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Titillating Grammar Facts About Words that Start with ’T’


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?

Getting back to our alphabetical listing of grammar issues, today we discuss words that begin with the letter t.

It’s been a few weeks since I covered “Avoiding Sticky Situations with Words that Begin with 'S.'” (Click here, here, and here for that three-part series.)

While t doesn’t have quite as many grammar issues, there are definitely enough for two blog posts.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Tantalizing, titillating

According to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), something that is tantalizing “torments us because we want it badly, and it is always out of reach.” If something is titillating, it “tickles us pleasantly, literally or figuratively.”


"...traditionally means 'appreciatively; gratefully,'" CMS cites. It's not a substitute for thank goodness or fortunately.

There, their, they’re

I’ve covered this before, but it always bears repeating.

There is an adjective indicating direction, the Associated Press Stylebook (AP) states succinctly.


Stay there.

Their is a “plural possessive pronoun.”


The twins blew their noses simultaneously.

They’re is the contraction of they are.


They’re going to preschool next fall. 


Till is it’s own word and not the contraction of until.

“This is a perfectly good preposition and conjunction (open till 10 p.m.),” CMS states. “It is not a contraction of until and should not be written ’til.” AP also advises to use until or till, not ’til.

Teaspoonful, teaspoonfuls

Teaspoonfuls is the correct pluralization of teaspoonful, not teaspoonsful.

One word 


EFG Digest

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

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2016 edition
The Chicago Manual of Style
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition
The Bugaboo Review: A lighthearted guide to exterminating confusion about words, spelling, and grammar


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.


Mel Parish said…
Might be guilty of occasionally using 'Thankfully' wrong! Though possibly more in speech than in writing. One to remember.
Till got me, Mel. I honestly forgot it was a word.
Anonymous said…
I forgot that till was a word, too!

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