Yearly Archives: 2016

  1. Whomever vs. Whoever

    Raise your hand if you’ve had the who vs. whom argument. Isn’t it time to put that struggle to rest? Whoever is a pronoun that describes someone who performs an action, while whomever is a pronoun that describes someone who receives an action. Both whoever and whomever are interrogative pronouns that deal with people. Whoever Whoever is a subjective pronoun: It describes an unknown person …

  2. Inter- vs Intra-

    What’s the difference between the interstate highway and the intrastate highway? Inter- is a prefix that means between two groups, and intra- is a prefix which means within or inside one group. Inter- and intra- are both prefixes, which are groups of letters that are placed at the beginning of a word in order to change its meaning. Inter- Inter- is a common prefix that …

  3. Does Boxing Day Have Anything To Do With Boxing?

    In the US, the word boxing usually refers to two athletes stepping into a padded ring, each with the intention of knocking the other off their feet. But the day after Christmas brings up a new version of the word: Boxing Day The holiday is less familiar in the States, but it’s observed in the UK and Commonwealth nations on the first weekday after Christmas. It …

  4. Among vs. Amongst

    When you’re among friends, you talk amongst yourselves, right? Or is it the other way around? Among and amongst are variations of the same word. Among is more common in American English, while amongst used almost exclusively in British English. History and Meaning Amongst may feel more archaic to speakers of American English, but among is actually the older word, dating back to Old English …

  5. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Et Al.

    Et al. is used to shorten the list of names when a writer refers to a book, article or other published work that has three or more authors. Et al. means “and others.” It’s an abbreviation of the Latin et alii. It’s mainly used by academic writers when they cite other authors’ work in a paper or article. In popular media, et al. may be …

  6. What Do Double Entendres Mean?

    A double entendre is a subtle literary device that uses one statement to convey two very different meanings. Taken literally, a double entendre is usually an innocent statement that has no ironic or inappropriate overtones. Taken another way, the same statement often can mean something too indelicate to be said in polite company. A double entendre can also work in reverse, with an apparently dirty …

  7. Let’s Cut to the Chase: Idioms Are a Piece of Cake

    Idioms are expressions whose meanings are figurative and different from the literal meanings of the words within them. For example, the idiom “It costs an arm and a leg” means that something is very expensive. The literal meaning (that something has to be paid for with body parts) isn’t typically considered. English language learners may have a difficult time understanding idioms, since their figurative meaning …

  8. Why “Xenophobia” Was Dictionary.com’s 2016 Word Of The Year

    At Dictionary.com we aim to pick a Word of the Year that embodies a major theme resonating deeply in the cultural consciousness over the prior 12 months. This 2016, some of the most prominent news stories have centered around fear of the “other.” Fear is an adaptive part of human evolutionary history and often influences behaviors and perceptions on a subconscious level. However, this particular …

  9. Cue vs. Queue

      When do you cue, and when do you queue? Cue typically refers to a signal that encourages someone to take an action, while queue indicates an ordered line or file. Both cue and queue are pronounced like the letter Q, and are considered to be homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings. Additionally, both cue and queue can be …

  10. How To Use Roman Numerals

    Roman numerals are a collection of symbols that make up the number system that was used by the ancient Romans. Today, Roman numerals are more commonly used in titles, to number parts of works, in music theory, and on clock faces. Where do you see Roman numerals most often? The Symbols The Roman numeral system uses only seven symbols: I, V, X, L, C, D, …

  11. What Do Hurricane Category Numbers Mean?

    Part of the drama of hurricane season revolves around the predicting and changing of the severity—or category—of the storm. What category will the hurricane be when it hits land? What kind of damage might it inflict? What is a hurricane category? There are a few classification scales that meteorological agencies use to determine the intensity of hurricanes. The Saffir-Simpson scale is used to measure the strength of …

  12. Pore Over vs. Pour Over

    Since pour is a common word and sounds identical to pore, many English speakers use the verb pour in the verb phrase pore over meaning “to meditate or ponder intently.” Oops, we’ve definitely written that one incorrectly before … What does pore mean? When talking about carefully reading books, wills, or other documents, pore is the verb that you’re looking for.Pore means “to read or study with …