Word Facts

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    Practice vs. Practise

    If you’ve ever wondered why it’s spelled practice in some contexts and practise in others, it mainly comes down to British versus American spelling. In British English, which is also called International English, practise is a verb and practice is a noun. American English tends to avoid practise altogether, using practice as both the noun and verb form. The noun practice As a noun, practice means a “habit or …

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    Why Did “Noon” Used To Mean 3:00?

    To most, the word noon signifies a specific time of day–namely, 12:00 midday (aka “lunchtime”). But, surprisingly, the term noon wasn’t always shorthand for midday at 12:00; in fact, it used to refer to a different time of day altogether. First, some history. Clocks and watches are relatively new inventions. Though some timekeeping devices, like sundials and water clocks, have been used for thousands of years, …

  3. Advice vs. Advise

    Why are advice and advise so similar? It’s no wonder that advice and advise are often confused; they are used in similar contexts and are separated by just one letter. But, that letter signals important distinctions to keep in mind when using the terms. So, what are the differences between the two? What are the differences between advise and advice? Advise is a verb meaning “to give counsel to; offer an opinion …

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    “Infamous” vs. “Notorious”: Why Is There A Difference?

    Thanks to clicks, likes, and verified blue checkmarks, a person’s reputation can extend far beyond those who know them personally. For example, it’s widely known that Chris Evans is a real-life Captain America who holds doors open for people, and we all acknowledge that Beyoncé is a goddess among us mere mortals. Some people, though, have a reputation that precedes them in less positive ways. …

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    Why Do We Capitalize The Pronoun “I”?

    Even though it feels natural to English speakers, capitalizing I is unusual. In fact, English is the only language that does it. Germanic and Romantic languages typically have some conventions for capitalizing proper nouns, like Deutschland (in German) or Place de la Concorde (in French), but English is the only one that insists on capitalizing the personal pronoun. Still don’t think it’s weird … then …

  6. How Do You Change Passive Voice Into Active Voice?

    In active voice , the subject performs the action of the verb. In passive voice , the subject receives the action of the verb. If you feel like you need a little more than that, keep reading. What is passive voice? The subject of a sentence is the person or thing that sentence is about. The passive voice is when an action happens to the …

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    Blond vs. Blonde: What’s The Difference?

    Grammatical gender* is an unfamiliar concept to some native English speakers. If you’re learning a language like Spanish, for instance, one of the earliest lessons is that some nouns are feminine (la mesa for “the table”) and others masculine (el café for “coffee”). Gendered words are part of many other languages around the world, too, but not so much in English—or are they? Believe it or not, English …

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    What’s It Called When You Misinterpret Lyrics?

    What is a mondegreen? Have you ever heard someone sing the wrong lyrics to a song? Maybe a child gave the nursery rhyme “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” a new meaning by replacing the line “life is but a dream” with “life’s a butter dream.” Or maybe you’ve unironically belted out “Excuse me while I kiss this guy,” instead of Jimi Hendrix’s intended lyrics, “Excuse me …

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    Stop Wasting Breath By Saying These Repetitive Phrases

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    How Do You Use The Word “Myriad” In A Sentence?

    From college admissions to carbon emissions, it seems society these days is facing a myriad of challenges … or is it myriad challenges? Thanks, myriad. As if we don’t have enough to deal with. Most of us have heard of the word myriad  … but can you use it in a sentence? Well, we’re going help make at least one thing simpler and get to the bottom of …

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