Words often confused Passed and past are commonly confused, but I hope to explain the difference so that you’ll never confuse them again. Passed can only ever be part of the verb ‘to pass’. It is the past tense and the past participle of that verb. It is never anything else but part of that verb: The procession passed under the bridge. (past tense of ‘to pass’) The procession has passed under the bridge. (past participle of ‘to pass’) Past on the other hand, has several different meanings. Though they are similar, they… Read More
I, me and myself People often get confused between these three pronouns and I hope to give you a foolproof method of knowing which is right. It helps to know that a noun is the part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, feeling or action, and that a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. The pronoun ‘I’ ‘I’ is only used when you are referring to yourself in the subject of the sentence. In other words, you are the one taking… Read More
Hyphens and Dashes A hyphen joins two or more words together (mother-in-law, able-bodied) while a dash is used for parenthetical statements (He was – as far as I could see – completely drunk). On a modern keyboard, the hyphen key is at the top between 0 and = In Microsoft Word, a dash is formed in your text by keying a space, then a hyphen, then another space. When you finish the next word, the hyphen will convert into a dash. If you want a dash without spaces, you can find it… Read More
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).
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