Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here’s How to Get out of Meetings with Grace

I once worked remotely for a company that had a regular content editor meeting every Friday. That meeting was the bane of my working existence. We’d all gather on a conference call line starting at 10 a.m. We’d arrive with good intentions, but inevitably no one had an agenda and we’d walk away (sometimes hours later) without having reached any actionable conclusions. The only thing anyone would act on would be to take a few minutes at the start of next week’s meeting to bemoan the lack of things we accomplished with the previous one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It’s vs. Its: How Should You Use Them?

When you’re in a hurry, you might write “it’s” when you really mean “its,” or the other way around. You need to be aware of this mistake and know when to use which.

It’s is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” Its is a possessive determiner we use to say that something belongs to or refers to something.

It’s and its are among the most commonly confused words. They are pronounced the same, there’s a very small difference in how they’re written, and it’s also easy to mistake the contraction in it’s for a possessive.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8 Weird Techniques to Beat Writer’s Block

You’ve already taken ten deep breaths, made coffee, gone on a walk, had a snooze, made more coffee, looked at colossal lists of inspiring ideas, and made another cup of coffee for good measure. It’s time to break out the big guns—er, pens.

Everyone has their way to push through mental blocks and get things done . . . but what are the weirdest strategies? Here are eight odd but useful ways to reset your brain.

Monday, August 25, 2014

All the Wondrous Ways We Express Wonder in English

As we get nearer to the end of December, we are reminded of why it’s called the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the season of holidays, with Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Mawlid usually celebrated within a month of one another. And then there’s the New Year, a great opportunity to commit ourselves to plans and resolutions we’ll never actually make good on. This time of year is a great opportunity to remind ourselves of some of the words we have at our disposal to express all the wonder that’s going on.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

4 Infuriating Work Habits and How to Avoid Them

Considering all the time you spend at the office, it’s no surprise that your workspace, coworkers, and overall approach to everyday tasks have a big influence on your morale. We’ve all been there: you’re chatting with colleagues and you get a little heavy-handed with the emojis, or you’ve got an update most of your team will enjoy so you pop it into the general chat. It seems innocuous enough, but as it turns out, these—and other—little tendencies can really get under others’ skin.

Whose vs. Who’s

Who’s is a contraction linking the words who is or who has, and whose is the possessive form of who. They may sound the same, but spelling them correctly can be tricky. To get into the difference between who’s and whose, read on.

Who’s vs. Whose

  • Both who’s and whose come from the pronoun who (shocking, right?).
  • Who’s is a contraction, meaning it’s two words stuck together. The formula: who + is, or who + has.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Comma Between Correlative Conjunction Sets

Correlative pairs of conjunctions include words like neither…nor, not…but, and both…and. For this punctuation rule, we can also consider sets of words like not only…but also. When pairs or sets of conjunctions are being used, they do not need to be separated from each other by a comma. However, a comma may be used between the conjunctions to accommodate another grammar rule (see Exceptions).

Friday, August 15, 2014

“Barking up the wrong tree” and Other Funny Idioms

Have you heard the expression “barking up the wrong tree?” According to North Carolina State University, there are 23,000 different kinds of trees. What type of tree is incorrect? Idioms can be puzzling, but perhaps less so when you learn more about the phrases. Let’s delve into six interesting idiomatic expressions.

Barking up the wrong tree

Hunters sometimes use scent hounds to locate and pursue animals.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Disinterested vs. Uninterested—Are They the Same?

  • Disinterested means “without a vested interest.”
  • Uninterested means “not showing interest.”

The words disinterested and uninterested are sometimes used as if they have the same meaning. But there is a difference, and to avoid confusion, you should be aware of what that difference is.

What Does Disinterested Mean?

When someone doesn’t have a vested interest in a matter, or doesn’t have a horse in that race, we can say that this person is disinterested.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This Is How to Effectively Plan for Second Interview Questions

You’ve been invited to a second interview—well done! But don’t get too comfortable just yet. If you’ve been asked to interview a second time, you’re likely up against the company’s top few candidates. That means the stakes are higher than ever, and you need to prepare to give the interview all you’ve got.

Why Second Interviews Are So Important

Think of the first interview as the getting-to-know-you phase.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Grammar Snob App Allows You to Correct Your Friends’ Texts

If you’ve ever fantasized about wielding a red pencil that could correct grammatical mistakes in the text messages you receive, you’re in for a treat. There’s a new app on iTunes called Grammar Snob, and it gives you the ability to correct grammatical mistakes in texts. All you need to do is download it, wait until you receive a text message containing one of the mistakes covered by the app, place a corresponding sticker over the mistake, and hit send.

No-one, Noone, or No One—Which Is Right?

  • No one is right.
  • No-one is an uncommon variant form. It’s best to stick to the two-word version.
  • Noone is wrong.

Too many choices can sometimes confuse you, but with no one, it’s easy to learn which should be your go-to spelling.

No-one, Noone, or No One—Which Should I Use?

The correct way to spell no one is as two words, without the hyphen:

No one warned us about the incoming storm.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bad vs. Badly—What’s the Difference?

Misusing bad and badly is a common grammatical mistake. The word bad is an adjective and should be used to modify nouns and pronouns. Badly, like most words ending in -ly, is an adverb and is used to modify verbs. The thing that trips most people up is that linking verbs such a to be and to feel take adjectives rather than adverbs.

Why do people use bad and badly incorrectly so often in their writing?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Continuously vs. Continually—What’s the Difference?

The adverbs continuously and continually (and their corresponding adjectives, continuous and continual) are words that are confused easily and often. Continuously describes an action that happens without ceasing. Continually, on the other hand, describes an action that recurs frequently or regularly.

The confusion about whether to use continually or continuously is understandable, because both words share the same Latin root, continuare, meaning “to join together or connect.” Only the endings of the words are different, and over time, the two words have evolved with subtly distinct meanings.