Word Facts

  1. Dictionary.com’s Top 10 Grammar Tips

    Read on to see what we consider the top 10 grammar rules to remember. Maybe you'll like grammar a little more afterwards.

  2. What’s The Word For When You Can’t Remember A Word?

    The word was there a second ago. You were just about to say it. And then poof, it was gone, like a gnat buzzing just out of your reach when you’re about to smack it mid-air. So what the heck is going on. Is there a word to describe what you meant to say when you just can’t remember that word? Well, yes! It was …

  3. Why We Need The Serial Comma: 10 Hilarious Real-World Examples

  4. New Year’s vs. New Year: How To Ring In The Year With Good Grammar

    As if the words to “Auld Lang Syne” weren’t difficult enough to remember, ringing in a brand-new year comes with some particularly befuddling grammar landmines. Of course, the punctuation we use when talking about the New Year’s holiday couldn’t do us a solid and follow the same pattern as Veterans Day (note the lack of apostrophe), because … well, that’s the English language for you. Don’t …

  5. Do You Give Presents Or Gifts? Here’s The Difference

    Where do the words gift and present come from? Why does English use both? We’re pretty sure it’s not just so that children can ask for toys in multiple ways… Language is not a linear, predestined development. Even though it may feel as if the language we speak is in some way the logical conclusion of thousands of years of development, every word that we …

  6. The X In Xmas Is Really About Jesus Christ

    Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word Xmas, as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do, but the origin of this controversial term might change your mind! You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Xmas is popularly associated with a trend toward materialism and is, sometimes, the target of people who …

  7. Why Was Z Removed From The Alphabet (And Then Put Back)?

    Poor lonely Z finishes up the alphabet at number 26. But, that’s not the only insult this lonely letter suffers! Z’s history includes a time when it was so infrequently used that it was removed from the alphabet altogether. Where did Z come from? The Greek zeta is the origin of the humble Z. The Phoenician glyph zayin, meaning “weapon,” had a long vertical line capped …

  8. Is It “I Wish I Were” Or “I Wish I Was”?

    Picture it. You’re texting your buddy, and you type out “I wish I were.” But there’s that pesky autocorrect, trying to change it to “I wish I was.” Is autocorrect ducking with you, or are you about to commit a grammar faux pas? First, a little grammar lesson … Were and was are both past tense versions of the verb to be. But were is …

  9. How To Make Your Last Name Plural (And Keep The Grammarians Off Your Back)

    If writing out your holiday cards or ordering a sign for the front of your house makes you break out in hives, you may know a few grammar sticklers who like to poke fun. You know the type: The people who own stock in red ink manufacturing and are quick to point out when you’ve misused that apostrophe and inappropriately pluralized your last name. But …

  10. What’s The Difference Between “i.e.” And “e.g.”?

    What’s the difference between i.e. and e.g.? They may be small, but their power to befuddle writers and speakers of the English language is mighty. The term i.e. is a shortening of the Latin expression id est, which translates to “that is.” It is used to introduce a rephrasing or elaboration on something that has already been stated. The term e.g. is an abbreviation of …

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