“Eggcorns” and Homophones

Eggcorns? What on earth would they be? Generally this term is applied when people spell a word as they hear it, which may be quite different from the actual spelling. For example, if you weren’t familiar with the word ‘acorns’ you might think people were talking about “eggcorns” and write it that way. Some commonly seen ‘eggcorns’: I know what I’m doing now – I’ve got it down packed.   (Should be: I know what I’m doing now – I’ve got it down pat.)   I don’t think that will pass mustard. (Should be: I don’t think that will pass muster.)   To all intensive purposes… (Should be: To all intents and purposes…)   Just a taste to wet your appetite. (Should be: Just a taste to whet ...

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Numbers, numbers, everywhere

Ten? 10? 1,000? one thousand? 15%? fifteen percent? 15 percent? 3/4? 75 percent? Confused on the ‘correct’ way to use numbers, decimals, fractions and percentages in your writing? Relax – we have the answers. Numbers are everywhere nowadays; it’s common knowledge that using numbers or percentages in headings will make it more likely that readers will open blog posts/articles/emails, etc. But there are rules concerning just how we actually write those numbers. Basic rules (and when to break them!):   Nine or 9?  twenty-nine or 29?   10 is the turning point. Generally, numbers below 10 are spelled out while 10 and above are written as numerals: nine weeks;          six children;          12 apples;          90 days;           three months;          14 dogs T ...

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Active is better – or is it?

Many editors, style guides and university professors will ask writers to use active voice for preference, some professors have been known to go as far as forbidding their students to use the passive voice. They can’t all be wrong, can they? The short answer is ‘no’, they’re not wrong – most of the time. As the name suggests, active voice is more energetic and makes your writing more dynamic. Passive voice should mainly be reserved for occasions when:   a] the person(s) carrying out the action is/are unknown;   The bank has been held up three times this year! (passive) vs Thieves have held up the bank three times this year! (active)   b] the recipient of the action is far better known, and has a far higher level of recognition, than the ‘ac ...

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