Tag Archive for: grammar tips

Further or Farther

How Do You Know When To Use Further or Farther?

Learning 365 new words a year is one of my perennial grammar goals.  Read more

Are You Aggravated or Irritated? There IS a difference

 What an honor to be on campus at Mississippi College School of Law for in-person speaking event #1 of the year! Ellen Robb organized two days of learning for law students, who heard from inspiring leaders in their chosen profession. Read more

Eminent or Imminent

Eminent or Imminent? What’s the Word Week 1

Think back a few years and imagine you are sitting in your high school history classroom one day, just waiting for the bell to ring, and your teacher walks through the doorway and tells everyone in the classroom: “Class, put your books under your desk and take out a clean sheet of paper.” 

Read more

But Where Is the Restroom? Fun with Words Week 3

How many times did I walk past this sign last week looking for the restroom? Read more

Is It Home In or Hone In? Fun with Words Week 2

This photo is of one of the walls in the conference center at the #AloftSeattleRedmond. I was honored to facilitate a three-day Advanced Communications Program for a cohort of emerging leaders for one of my clients, and we all got a kick out of the creative artwork throughout the meeting area. But, can you tell what the wall is composed of? Look closely.



In fact, we’ll use this photo to introduce our #GrammarforGrownups question this week. Which word is correct?

If you [home in, hone in] on this photo, you can tell the entire wall is composed of old keyboard keys.

Scroll for the answer.






Answer: home in

If you home in on this photo, you can tell the entire wall is composed of old keyboard keys. 

I have always said hone in similar situations.


I have always been wrong.


To home in means to get closer to something such as an object or a goal or the truth. Picture a homing pigeon (why haven’t I realized that before).

To hone means to sharpen something—and you don’t hone in on anything.

My son honed his test-taking skills in preparation for the ACT.

And, I’m certainly honing my vocabulary this month.


Can you think of other examples of words you have been using incorrectly without realizing it?



To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

Prefer Performance to Chronology in Your Résumé

It’s Interview Time: What’s the One Detail Most Interviewees Forget?

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

How to Pluralize Family Names with Tricky Spellings

This week we’re polishing off the last of the turkey sandwiches, hanging lights, taking our decorations out of the attic—and addressing our cards. Let’s continue our discussion of how to pluralize our family names with tricky spellings. Read more

What If My Name Already Ends With An “S”?

This is a popular topic this time of year, so thank you to everyone who wrote in asking some version of this question: How do I make my family’s last name plural on greeting cards? Read more

Confident Christmas Cards: Answers to Apostrophe Pop Quiz

Last Wednesday we asked a series of pluralization questions regarding apostrophes and last names so we can sign off on our Christmas cards with confidence.

Read more

How Do I Make My Family’s Last Name Plural on Greeting Cards?

Quick question: With which names should you use the apostrophe? Choose the correct version. Read more

Grammar Grappler #33:  We Arrived at the Seminar Wearing the Exact Same Jacket

This actually happened to me when I was facilitating a continuing education class for 200 accountants in Charlotte, North Carolina, a few years back. An audience member and I were wearing identical outfits.  Read more