Tag Archive for: word choice

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 Accidently or Accidentally?

Is It Accidently or Accidentally? Fun with Words Week 1

We’ve spent the last several weeks working on refreshing our résumés. Now let’s turn our attention to specific word pairs that are commonly confused and misspoken. My goal during the next few weeks is to make sure these words don’t trip you up during a job interview 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

Grammar Grappler #28: Very Unique?

“Halleigh, the spelling of your name is very unique.”

“She had a very unique way of expressing frustration.”

“The author took a most unique approach to revealing the murderer at the end of the mystery novel.”

Very unique?

Most unique?

Very unique is another phrase we should send to the Redundancy Department of Redundancy. Why? Unique actually means “unlike anything else.” It’s unique. Period. It is unnecessary to modify it with words like very and most. According to its definition, you can’t have varying degrees of uniqueness. Something can’t be a little unique or a lot unique or very unique. It’s unique—just like a rainbow unicorn.

 

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:

How Do You Handle Virtual Meeting Whiners?

Use this App to Capture Fresh Presentation Ideas

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

Photo by mark glancy from Pexels

Grammar Grappler #26: Is it “free rein” or “free reign”?

A fellow Amory Panther brought this confusing word pair to my attention through Facebook. Let’s see how well you choose the correct word in this sentence: Read more

Grammar Grappler #19: Affect or effect?

Without fail, this question pops up in every Grammar-for-Grownups professional development class I facilitate. 

Oh, how I wish there were a simple gimmick to help us remember when to use affect or effect. Alas, that’s why it’s so tricky; there’s no sure-fire memorable saying to help with this sometimes confusing word choice. And, it’s not as simple as saying affect is a verb and effect is a noun. So, how do we know when to use which word? Below is what I share in my classes. It boils down to word substitution—but I’ve found it really works.

Effect is a noun. When effect is being used as a noun, it means “result.”

One effect of Tropical Storm Claudette was closed beaches in Point Clear.

Translation: One result of Tropical Storm Claudette was closed beaches in Point Clear. (And I know this well because we had to cancel our vacation last weekend.)

Another way to look at it is if you can put an or the in front of it, use effect.

Affect is a verb. When affect is being used as a verb, it means “to change or influence.”

Tropical Storm Claudette affected our vacation plans.

Translation: Tropical Storm Claudette changed our vacation plans.

Life would be sweet if it really were that simple, but here’s the catch. Effect also can be used as a verb. And when effect is a verb, it means “to cause.” [Think cause and effect.]

This new HR policy will effect a change in our organizational chart.

Translation: This new HR policy will cause a change in our organizational chart.

This word substitution works for me. I’m curious if you have any other memorable tricks for effect and affect—and effect.

 

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:

How Do You Handle Virtual Meeting Whiners?

Use this App to Capture Fresh Presentation Ideas

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

Photo by Richard Main on Unsplash

Grammar Grappler #18: Are you running the gauntlet or running the gamut?

This confusing phrase pair was not even on my RADAR until a reader brought it up. And, when I found out what running the gauntlet really means, I was appalled. I definitely won’t be using that expression again.  Read more

Grammar Grappler #13: Windshield Wipers

During a recent lunch with a couple of speaking colleagues, I asked them about funny words and expressions they hear mispronounced. One of my friends admitted she had called “windshield wipers” something else for many years. She had been calling them “windshield swipers” until someone pulled her aside and politely pointed out the error of her ways. Read more