Word Facts

  1. When To Use A vs. An

    There are all sorts of grammar rules out there. But, one of the most basic is determining when you should use the very first letter of the alphabet. Do you know when to use a vs. when you should use an? Let’s break this one down! A vs. an The rule is: Use an before a word beginning with a vowel sound (not letter). It doesn’t matter how the …

  2. Which Words Should You Capitalize In A Title?

    Titles can be confusing—either due to length (we’re looking at you, Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet), punctuation (Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood), or content (sigh, 2002’s Mr. Mom). But, titles can also stump readers and writers across the board due to title case—conventions of which words in a sentence start with capital letters. Have no fear: We’ll walk you through the steps, one …

  3. Are There Any English Words That Have No Vowels?

    It’s a question that just about every English learner has asked: “Are there any English words that have no vowels?” The answer to this depends what you mean by “vowel” and “word.” There are two things we mean by the word vowel: a speech sound made with the vocal tract open or a letter of the alphabet standing for a spoken vowel. Words with no …

  4. What Is Phonetic Spelling?

    Spelling is how we put words together, but what is phonetic spelling? An alternate way to create words? Well, yes! Phonetic spelling vs. phonetic pronunciation Phonetic spelling is the representation of vocal sounds which express pronunciations of words. It is a system of spelling in which each letter represents invariably the same spoken sound. Some schools may use phonetic pronunciations to help children learn the spelling of difficult …

  5. Is There Such A Thing As A True Synonym?

    Thesauruses present a catalog of synonyms from which we may pick and choose words to put into our writing, but a thesaurus used alone is a very bad thing because there is no such thing as a true synonym. Every word has its particular place in the language. How do synonyms work? To present a group of words that allegedly say the same thing, as …

  6. The Longest English Words

  7. Two Nerdy Steps To Take To Improve Your Vocabulary

    When we asked this woman the difference between lay and lie ... she couldn't answer right away. Maybe her nerdy steps to learn how to use these words will help you learn the difference between lay and lie too?
  8. Moribund: Visual Word of the Day

    Learn more about this Word of the Day here.
  9. Physics@Brock

    Inertia vs. Momentum: Which Keeps You Moving?

    Science is real. Science is cool. Science uses a lot of terms that we all think we know. But, do we really know what we are talking about? In the spirit of scientific community and understanding, let’s clear up one big scientific misconception that we all get wrong … Pop quiz: Is it momentum or inertia that keeps you moving? Here’s a hint: In science, inertia is …

  10. Boston Rare Maps

    What Does “Wag the Dog” Mean?

    If you aren’t immersed in politics on the daily, through social media, the news, or just casual conversation, you might not be aware that the phrase wag the dog has become pretty poignant political jargon. But, how did it end up in the political lexicon and where did this seemingly innocent-sounding idiom come from? Below is our rendition of the brief history of the word trends …

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