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Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Subtle Differences

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



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, we’re going to discuss words that basically mean the same, but have subtle differences, like repellent and repulsive or contagious and infectious. These slight distinctions can elevate the quality of your writing.


Contagious, infectious

Contagious and infectious both basically describe a disease that is communicable, according to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). However, it notes that a “contagious disease spreads by direct contact with an infected person or animal,” while “an infectious disease is spread by germs on a contaminated object or element.”

Partly, partially

CMS explains that both “convey the sense ‘to some extent; in part,” such as in the phrase “partly responsible.” Partially “has the additional senses of ‘incompletely,’ as in 'partially cooked' and ‘u…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Was or Were?

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Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER




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?




“If I was...” or “If I were...” 

Which is correct?

After doing some research, I found it is a matter of subjunctive versus indicative mood. 

The subjunctive is used to express wishful thinking. 

The indicative should be used for statements of fact.


Example 

If I were president, I would invest in infrastructure.


If you have a hard time remembering this, think of “If I Were a Rich Man,” the famous song from the musical Fiddler on the Roof
Handy, right?


EFG Digest
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References

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

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: V, Not Just for Vendetta

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POSTED BY  KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?





Although it is a great movie, the letter, V, covers so much more than just the word vendetta.

It’s been a bit since we’ve done one of our individual letters of the alphabet days, so today, let’s talk about words that begin with the letter, V.



Vacuum

One of the red-flag words, vacuum has a double u in the middle.


Valley

Although not hard to spell at all, you might be interested to know it should be capitalized only as part of a full name, such as Mississippi Valley. The Associated Press Stylebook (AP) recommends to lowercase it in plural uses, like the Missouri and Mississippi valleys.


V-E Day, V-J Day

Get these two days mixed up? You’re not the only one.

V-E Day is May 8, 1945, the day the surrender of Germany was announced officially ending the European phase of World War II, acco…

Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Adventures in Punditry

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POSTED BY  KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


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?








Here are some words thrown around by TV political pundits and the comedians who mock them. All definitions are taken from the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, and Dictionary.com. No matter what you are writing, it's important not to use the correct terms when referring to economic systems. 


Plutocracy 

This word means “government by the wealthy” or a “controlling class of the wealthy.” It also can mean a group of people exercising power or influence by virtue of its wealth.


Oligarchy

Slightly different from plutocracy, an oligarchy is a government in which a small group exercises control and has all of the power. Government by the few rather than the majority. Webster adds this small group usually wields their power for selfish and corrupt purposes.


Capi…