Tag Archive for: writing tips

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. 

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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

Grammar Grappler #30: Combine Together the Following Ingredients

Following graduation from Mississippi State University, I moved back to my hometown and worked that summer and fall at my hometown newspaper. One of the most fun projects I contributed to during that time was the Thanksgiving recipe publication. Read more

Grammar Grappler #24: Why Sign it “Sincerely”?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a guideline on how to capitalize complimentary closes for business letters and emails. When your complimentary close is more than one word, you don’t capitalize the second word. For instance: Read more

Grammar Grappler #22: Sincerely yours or Sincerely Yours

This week’s post is a quick read, but we’re using our summer theme of “Grammar Grapplers” to answer readers’ questions. Recently, I’ve received a couple of versions of this question. What do you think? Please choose the correct response. Read more