Literally Getting it Right
We’ve all read it and cringed at some point: I literally died when I saw him. I have literally nothing to wear. It rained literally every day for a month. Okay, so maybe – just maybe – if you live in a monsoon climate, the last one might be true; however, more likely it’s simply an exaggeration. The first two? Clearly you didn’t actually die. And the second one could only be correct if you’d just evacuated your home in the middle of the night as it was destroyed by a fire and you’re naked in the street while all of your clothes have gone up in smoke! Smarten up your writing – formal or informal – by avoiding this misuse. Literally means that something is true; for example, a literal translation of a document ...
“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 ...
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 ...