This is a special post for my friend and neighbour, Paul-Enguerrand Fady (aged 15). He asks, following the posts on advice and advise, practice and practise, licence and license: ‘What is the difference between defence and defense?’ The answer is very simple: defence is the UK spelling while defense is the US spelling. The same goes for offence (UK spelling) and offense (US spelling).
“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Samuel Johnson Dr Johnson’s words, so often quoted, darted into my mind when I had my recent Damascene moment. This came as I turned down a road high above the city of Auckland where a splendid view unfurled before me in the sunshine, sweeping down to the Skytower and the sparkling waters of… Read More
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