Choose your words wisely
The English language is filled with pitfalls for writers. The questions below might come up when you’re creating content—and to maintain credibility you need to choose the right answers.Is it further or farther? If you’re referring to actual physical distance, the latter is correct; if not, the former is.
- This issue demands further study.
- San Diego is farther from Los Angeles than Orange County.
Is it alright or all right? This is an easy one—since alright is not a word.
- Working from home has always been all right with me.
Is it setup or set up? The former is a noun, while the latter is a verb.
- This setup is wonderful.
- How should we set up the room?
Is it passed or past? That depends on whether you want to use the past tense of pass—or are referring to something that belongs to a former time or place.
- We passed an important milestone for our company.
- It’s fun to look at photos from the past.
Is it lose or loose? The former is a verb, while the latter is an adjective.
- No one likes to lose.
- You’ve lost some weight when your pants are loose.
Is it stationary or stationery? These homonyms have very different meanings.
- A stationary bike can help you keep in shape.
- My stationery is made from recycled paper.
If you have any doubts that you’re using the correct word, take the time to look up its meaning—to make sure you always get it right.
Did you get it?
I use those four words more often than I wish. Many of you, like me, use email to communicate with clients. After you hit send, you assume the person at the other end gets it, and most of the time they do. But not always.When I send completed writing or editing projects to clients and they don’t acknowledge receipt, it leaves me in a quandary: did they get it and it’s fine (so I can invoice), are they reviewing it or did they not get it? If I’ve heard nothing after a day or two, I send a “did you get it?” email. I wish I didn’t have to. Where do you stand on email acknowledgement? I’d love to know.
It takes a village
Any professionally printed sign goes through a number of hands before the final product is produced. After the content is created by a writer, it goes through the editing process, which can include one or more people. A client review may also happen before the approved sign is sent to a printer, where it’s seldom proofed again.I bring this up so you can imagine how many people saw the sign above but failed to notice its big grammar error. Plus, it’s a good reminder that proofing is necessary for even very small amounts of copy. “Vegan at its best”? Perhaps—but the sign is a fail.