Sometimes confusing words take us by surprise, and sometimes we just blank on them. Being familiar with commonly confused words can help. The following words and phrases are like sharks lurking in the waters of our language: watch out! Use this challenge to raise your awareness as well as test your prowess with these word and phrase pairs.
Challenge on confusing words:
- We had less/fewer trick-or-treaters this year than we expected.
- We have a lot of leftover candy like/such as Milk Duds and Smarties.
- The trick-or-treater's mothercomplemented/complimented us on our fall decorations.
- A lot of voters seem disinterested/uninterestedin the election.
- Many have become weary/wary of all the automated phone calls.
- We really should be more weary/wary about clicking links in junk email.
- The weather reporter emphasized theenormity/enormousness of Sandy. (I actually saw this one used incorrectly several times during the hurricane news coverage.)
- The reporter implied/inferred that she would rather not be standing so close to the waves.
- I implied/inferred from what she said that she was soaking wet.
- The storm reached further/farther inland than most hurricanes.
- That storm was certainly not an every day/everyday occurrence.
- I'm glad my pajamas are not inflammable/flammable.
- We wondered if/whether/weather our cousins in New Jersey had power.
- We are glad to have survived this historic/historical storm. (Yep, I saw that one used incorrectly, too.)
- A cyclone is when/occurs when a circular wind pattern develops over the ocean.
When you are ready, send your answers straight to me.
Results of Contractions versus Pronouns Challenge
Our contractions challenge last week was very popular, with a record number of responders. "Wow that really took me back!" says reader Meaghan Anderson. "Piece of cake," adds Krista Allen.
David Zimmerle took it up a notch and added the contraction it'd for it had in number 1. That was a good move! A couple of readers asked whether dean's list should be capitalized, to which I suggest that if it is a specific dean's list, yes. If it refers generically to a nonspecific dean's list, no. And Louise Nicholson expressed an insecurity I believe we should all feel when dealing with these: "I see these types of errors all over the place, so I hope I got them right." The fact that so many of us KNOW the right answer yet these errors occur in print and online so frequently tells me that we may not be as nervous and careful as we should be about contractions versus pronouns! Here are your results:
Correct answers to the contractions versus pronouns challenge are brought to you by Ron Turner:
- The way the raccoon was walking, I assumed it had hurt it'sits foot.
- It's about time we started getting our pronouns correct!
- Your You're not going to tell me your you're not on the dean's list this semester!
- The cyclone might flood your basement even if itsit's not below the water table.
- The old table, who's whose supports were weak, collapsed under the weight of the cat.
- Who's Whose car is parked in the police chief's parking spot?
- The kids carried their candy in there their pockets, so they did not need plastic pumpkins.
- If your downspouts are blocked, your eaves may leak.
Congrats to our hundred-percenters this week (alphabetically by first name): Barbara Veneri, Brenda Sing, Clay Walnum, David Pitts, David Zimmerle, Deb Pekin, Geri A. Moran, Ginny Supranowitz, Jay Herman, Joan P Dickerson, Karen L. Busser, Kathryn J. Meloche, Krista Allen, Lori Vuyk-Farnsworth, Louise Nicholson, Meaghan Anderson, Stacey Edwards, andTanya Davis.
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