A Guide to Using Capital Letters To use or not to use, that is the question The basic rule nowadays is: the fewer capitals, the better. Things have changed considerably over the years, even since I was at school, when we sprinkled capitals gaily throughout our work. Now, it’s thought that too many capitals break up the text on a page and make it more difficult to read. Some words always have capitals: Proper nouns (Proper nouns name specific entities while their opposite, common nouns, name a general class of entities and… Read More
One letter makes all the difference: Affect and effect are frequently confused and I wish I had a dollar, or better still a pound, for every time I have seen them wrongly used. A good way to understand the difference is to remember that affect is normally a verb and effect is normally a noun.
One letter makes all the difference: Practice and practise, licence and license follow the same rules as advice and advise which we posted last week. Practice is a noun and practise is a verb: ‘When she qualified as a doctor, she joined a general practice in a deprived part of the city.’ noun ‘She decided not to practise medicine any longer in order to become an MP and champion the rights of the marginalised.’ verb
One of the highlights of the recent school holidays was a visit with the grandchildren to the Tip Top Ice Cream Factory. The tour encompassed the history of the product, a view of the factory floor where ice cream flowed unstoppably, and, at the end, the choice of whichever delicious ice cream we wanted. Our spritely tour guide told us that in 1936, Albert Hayman and Len Malaghan opened their first Ice Cream Parlour in Wellington, NZ. It’s believed that they were discussing business whilst travelling in a train dining car when… Read More
One letter makes all the difference: Advice is a noun. Change the ‘c’ to an ‘s’ and you have advise which is a verb and pronounced slightly differently: ‘I really value your advice and your opinion is important to me.’ noun ‘Please can you advise me, as I am unsure what to do for the best.’ verb Hint for remembering the difference: ‘ice’ is a noun, so advice is a noun too; ‘is’ is a verb, so advise is a verb too.