Hopefully (Video) | Merriam-Webster

video hopefully

TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Ask the Editor, I’m Peter Sokolowski, Editor-in-Chief at Merriam-Webster. Everyone has a pet peeve on English. One thing we sometimes hear about is the use of the word hope to mean, I hope, as in “Hopefully it won’t rain tomorrow.” The use of the word hope seems to have started in the …

Read more

Mispronunciations That May Be Fine (Video)

video mischievous nulcear library mispronunciations

TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Ask the Editor. I’m Emily Brewster, associate editor at Merriam-Webster. A mischievous nuclear scientist comes to the library. Does that bother you? Sorry, or maybe it sounds good to you. Alright. My silly sentence consists of three questionable pronunciations… mis-ˈchē-vē-əs instead of mis-chə-vəs,nyü-kyə-lər instead ofˈnü-klē-ər, and lī-ˌber-ē for ˈlī-ˌbrer-ē, … all in …

Read more

Fun, Funner, Funnest (Video) | Merriam-Webster

fun funner funnest

TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Ask the Editor. I’m Emily Brewster, associate editor at Merriam-Webster. – I’ve never been to a more fun party. – It was the funniest party I can remember. As a one-syllable adjective, cheerful must have superlative and superlative forms (funer and funnest), just as new has newer and newest. However, spell checkers …

Read more

Are You Feeling Jaded?

jaded definition and meaning

Today, everyone seems to get tired: voters, onlookers – maybe even you after another driver cuts you off on your way to work. Enthusiasts have seen and done and heard enough to not be easily surprised or even amused. A politician’s promise? Yes, we’ve heard that before. A new movie not to be missed? We …

Read more

Poignant vs. Pungent

how the meaning of poignant changed over time

Today, well understand means “to cause a strong feeling of sadness” and pungent means “to have a strong, sharp taste or smell,” but they share a common history — they share the same Latin root, pungentmeans “to sting” or “to sting”. Both English words have changed over time; well understand originally meant “sharp and delicious” …

Read more

Segue or Segway?

three police officers on segway personal transporters 1745

distinguish sometimes confused with tram. distinguish is a verb that means “to move incessantly from subject, song, etc. to another subject.” tramotherwise, is the trademarked name for an electrically powered transport device. Most of the most commonly confused words in English are old pairs: affect And functionor sporadic And discreet. But a new pair has …

Read more

Nouns That Look Like Adjectives

singles bar 1823

Adjectives are useful words that describe nouns and pronouns. Words like High And slow And sweet. An attribute noun is a noun that modifies another noun—like ‘single’ in the phrase ‘single bar’. However, sometimes we find the words we’ve been taught are nouns that do the same job: One business meeting study papers ONE apartment …

Read more

Plural and Possessive Names: A Guide

socrates death or socrates death 1868

Names are proper nouns, become plural like other nouns: add letters -S for most names (“the Johnsons,” “the Websters”) or more -es if the name ends with S or z (“the Joneses,” “the Martinezes”). To express ownership using an apostrophe, add ‘S to individuals (“Smith’s Car”) and simply the following apostrophe S for the plural …

Read more

Is ‘None’ Singular or Plural? (Video)

is none singular or plural video 1753

TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Ask the Editor. I’m Emily Brewster, associate editor at Merriam-Webster. Please forgive that stepping into this important grammar issue bores you as you consider the following examples. – No more donuts. – No more coffee. – I was hoping there would be some left, but when I looked there was nothing left. …

Read more

Stationary vs. Stationery

top 10 commonly confused words stationery 342

Freeze means “don’t move,” while stationery refers to “paper for writing letters.” To remember which is which, stationery And paper both contain -er. They sound exactly the same and look almost identical, but in reality they are completely different. One way to remember which word it is is to think of the ‘er’ in ‘paper’ …

Read more

Respectively vs. Respectfully

respectively 1969

respectfully relating to showing or showing respect, with respect means “understanding that something is important.” Corresponding means “in certain order” and in this case respect is being used to describe how one thing relates to or refers to another. Meaning of Respect Both corresponding And best regards Have respect their core. But they point to …

Read more

Is ‘Boughten’ a Word?

boughten cookies 2028

Like most words people don’t hear from the mouths of Hollywood broadcasters and celebrities, repurchase accused is not a word. But it is a word. Actually, it’s two. The adjective ‘bought’ means ‘the opposite of homemade’ or ‘bought’. It can also suggest that something that should have been given away for free was paid to …

Read more

Prepositions, Ending a Sentence With

churchill 2031

End a sentence with a preposition (such as ) with, belong toAnd ARRIVE) is allowed in English. It seems that the idea that this should be avoided originated with writers Joshua Poole and John Dryden, who were trying to align the language with Latin, but there is no reason to assume that ending sentences with …

Read more

Do Burglars ‘Burgle’ or ‘Burglarize’?

burglar 2055

Verb form of theft could be either thief or thief. thiefformed by adding -ize suffix to thiefmore common in American English. thiefformed by removing -ar word suffix thief, more common in British English. Both words have been denigrated in the past, but both are considered perfectly fine. Theft: illegally entering a building with the intent …

Read more

What’s the plural of ‘water’?

bottles of water 2147

Native English speakers never have to worry about one of our grammar quirks: uncountable noun (also called plural noun). These are words like sand or butter does not have a regular plural form, does not use indefinite articles such as One or ONE, and take the singular verb (“melting butter”; “sand blowing in his face”). …

Read more

I Before E Except After C

this kids not having it 2178

sayings i before e, minus after c is supposed to help us spell correctly, but it only reliably determines the type of word that includes receive And Superior. That’s a good quick reminder for this common pattern, but keep in mind that there are many exceptions to this “rule,” such as grip, height, And in …

Read more

‘First’ or ‘Firstly’?

firstly what 2180

When used to start a list of two or more things, it is common to give preference to Firstly via Firstly today, but this preference is one of customs and usage, not grammar. Both Firstly And Firstly can function as adverbs, but they are not completely interchangeable; for example, we never say “firstly of all.” …

Read more

Learning to Like ‘Like’

like like 2195

What’s not to like about this word? alike? The short answer to that question is “a lot.” Alike has been a particular source of annoyance for those who are annoyed by the language habits of others: while most offensive words, such as despitefind a single major and stick with it, alike annoying people in two …

Read more

Beg the Question

aristotle beg the question 2216

Start the question means “to elicit a particular question in the form of a response or response” and can often be replaced by “a question asking for an answer.” However, a less commonly used and more formal definition is “to ignore a question under the assumption that it has been answered.” The phrase itself comes …

Read more

Jealous vs. Envious

jealousy 2243

While many people believe that jealous means fear someone will take what you have, and jealous means desire for what another has, historical usage shows that both mean “desire” and are interchangeable when describing another’s desire to possess. However, when it comes to romantic feelings, only jealous can be used to mean “doubtful possession,” as …

Read more

Arrant or Errant?

knight errant 2273

You can create a Venn diagram of “people who use words .” wandering And crop” and “those who are worried about whether they are using wandering And crop exactly” it would be an almost perfect circle. There is a good reason for the confusion: for a considerable time, both meant the same thing. Both words …

Read more

The Changing Meaning of ‘Elope’

runaway bride 2085

escapethe meaning of the word is shifting to “a small destination wedding” whereas in the past it meant “to run away and get married in secret”, and before that it was “for a married woman who ran away with new lover”, and even before that it just meant “escape or run away” with no romantic …

Read more

Famous vs. Infamous

fame 2295

Famous means “widely known.” scandal does not mean “not famous” but rather it means “having a reputation of the worst kind.” It may help to remember that blasphemy related to infamous means “a bad reputation created by some serious crime.” Maybe you’re one of those people who looked up the word blasphemy because you can’t …

Read more

Is This Cat ‘Uninterested’ or ‘Disinterested’?

i am a bored and uninterested cat do you have something to say to me too bad i do not care 2312

In today’s usage, indifferent usually means “unbiased”, while not interested simply means “don’t care.” Interestingly, when these words were first introduced, their meanings were reversed, with indifferent originally meant “lack of interest,” and not interested means “unbiased.” When the control panel used for the 1985 version of Harper’s Dictionary of Contemporary Usage were asked whether …

Read more

Rack vs. Wrack

nerve racking 2336

Shelf And break in phrases like “(w)rack one’s brain” have been used interchangeably so often that it is fine to use both spellings. However, some commentators use suggested use shelf in the phrases “brain-chilling” and “nervous” and save break for images related to boats and storms, such as “devastating storm” and “devastating and devastation.” Quick …

Read more

The Scoop on Sherbet vs. Sherbert

sherbert 2352

beveragepronounced “SHER-but,” is the buzzword for a sweet, frozen dessert made from fruit or fruit juice. Sherbertwith an addition r in the second syllable and pronounced “SHER-bert,” is less commonly used. In the UK, beverage is a monosodium glutamate used to foam drinks or to eat. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing like a …

Read more

Using ‘Done’ and ‘Finished’

done 2431

the difference between finished And complete unclear to many people. These two words are used interchangeably by a large portion of the English-speaking population, often following the word Iand used to indicate that the speaker has completed some task, episode or other thing. There’s a very good chance that some of you reading this may …

Read more