Tag Archive for: writing tips

Eminent or Imminent

What’s the Word Week 2 Emigrate or Immigrate?

Perhaps you’ve heard these words in the news daily throughout the past year. But, have you noticed that even the media are not always using them correctly? The incorrect word will flash across the news ticker during various news reports, even at the national level, so today we’re deciding between emigrant and immigrant. Should we use emigrate or immigrate? Let’s see how you do in choosing the correct word. Decide upon your answers, and then check your results.

 

  1. More than 7,000 [immigrants, emigrants] left Central America and arrived at the U.S. border last summer.

 

  1. Zamir and his family [immigrated, emigrated] from Turkey in 2019.

 

Scroll for the definitions and answers:

 

Emigrant / Immigrant

An emigrant is one who leaves one’s home or residence by going out. An immigrant is the opposite; immigrants come into a town or country. One little hack that helps me is to associate the “e” in emigrate with “exit” and the “i” in immigrate with “into.” The difference in meanings boils down to your point of view, whether you’re coming or going.

 

Answers:

 

  1. Emigrants
  2. Emigrated

 

And, if you have any clever ways to remember the differences in sometimes confusing word pairs, please comment, and we’ll share them in an upcoming blog post. I’m always on the lookout for tips, tricks, and techniques—even the corny-sounding ones—for remembering grammar guidelines and vocabulary words.

 

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. 

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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.” 

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How to Be a Better Writer

How to Be a Better Writer: Use a Particular Pair of Scissors

Want to learn how to be a better writer? Use a particular pair of scissors

Truman Capote:

“I believe more in scissors than I do the pencil.”

 

Recently I drew inspiration from a few tips listed in an old newspaper column—because they stepped on my toes. One tip was: “Challenge every word.”

 

When I read that one, I instantly was reminded of a writing lesson learned the hard way. Twenty years ago, I was presenting a Grammar-for-Grownups workshop in Portland, Maine. A man approached me at the first break and said, “Mrs. Stanley, do you realize you’ve said the word particular seven times already this morning?” 

 

Apparently, he had been counting. 

 

He explained, “The word particular is what we consider to be a wasted word in the English language because it adds no value or meaning or clarification to any sentence.” I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond to his observation. It was 20 years ago and much earlier in my career. (I was much younger, period.) So, I smiled and simply said, “Thank you for sharing.” I didn’t know what else to say in the moment. But, when I had a chance to process our conversation after the class, I realized he was correct. I had a habit of saying:

 

On this particular page

In this particular example

On this particular slide

For this particular exercise

 

I DID say particular too much. He made me painfully aware of it, so as a result of our conversation, I have purged that particular word from my presentations and my writing. He taught me to challenge the word particular.

 

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?

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Toilets: Fun with Words Week 4

I play a game on social media with my extended family members called, “Where is Mandi this week?” I post a photo, and my family competes to see who can guess it first. 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.

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Grammar Grappler #31: Really, Mom, I Was Out Studying Until 3 a.m., in the Morning

This has been a crowd favorite, so to speak. So many of you have shared examples of how often you hear people say, “I have to leave for the airport at 4 a.m., in the morning.” Read more