Virtually real- Virtuellement vraie

Micheline Harvey: Virtual Assistant, real person/Adjointe Virtuelle, mais tout à fait vraie

Literally/Figuratively – Good grammar, it’s hot! December 4, 2011

I think good grammar is important and attractive! As a VA, it is part of my job to notice grammar, spelling and the proper use of words. Common mistakes can do serious damage to an otherwise stellar reputation. Think about the image you project and proofread, do some research, look it up…or ask me!

Literally/Figuratively

Have you ever heard someone say something like the following?

I was so scared that I literally jumped out of my skin.

I was so cold after two hours in the snow that I literally froze to death.

Upon hearing a statement like one of these, I think, “Really? You literally jumped out of your skin?” Or, “You actually froze to death, but you’re still alive to talk about it?”

It’s common to hear figures of speech (like idioms or hyperboles) used for emphasis, just as “jumped out of my skin” is used to express extreme fright. Such expressions are not intended to be interpreted as is, which is why they are considered figurative. In contrast, when something is literal, it is real or actual. Obviously, it is impossible to jump out of one’s skin, so this expression is figurative, not literal. The use of literally in such an expression is incorrect or, at best, unnecessary.

It could be argued that literally is used with figures of speech for the purpose of exaggeration or emphasis; that is, the person including literally is doing so purposefully to extend the hyperbole. But it is generally understood that figures of speech (as used in the examples above) are for emphasis, often involve some exaggeration, and not intended to be taken seriously. To include the word literally for further exaggeration or emphasis is, in my opinion, verbal overkill.

Source: www.grammarerrors.com

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Bad Badly – Good grammar, it’s hot! November 6, 2011

Bad Badly

Do you feel bad or badly?

Should you want something bad or badly?

Whether to use bad or badly can be determined by identifying the type of verb in the sentence and understanding how bad and badly differ as parts of speech.

Bad is an adjective, so it describes a noun or pronoun. Badly is an adverb so, like all adverbs, it describes a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

Most verbs perform action, but linking verbs are different: they are not performing an action, but are connecting the subject with another word in the sentence. The word feel, when it refers to emotions, serves as a linking verb that connects the subject (always a noun or pronoun) of the sentence with the adjective that follows the verb. When using the verb feel in referring to an emotion or state of mind, always follow it with the adjective bad.
In other cases when an action verb is used (like the verb want), use the adverb badly:

He feels bad that he forgot his mother’s birthday.

He wants a new car badly.

Source: www.grammarerrors.com

 

Alter Altar – Good grammar, it’s hot! October 12, 2011

I think good grammar is important and attractive! As a VA, it is part of my job to notice grammar, spelling and the proper use of words. Common mistakes can do serious damage to an otherwise stellar reputation. Think about the image you project and proofread, do some research, look it up…or ask me!

Alter Altar

Alter and altar can be easily confused because of their one-letter spelling difference. Usually writers know which meaning they want to convey, but they can’t remember which spelling goes with which word.

Alter (with an “e”) is to change or make something different. Altar (with an “a”) has the religious meaning of a place of sacrifice or center of worship.

Here’s a tip for remembering the difference between the two:

Alter is an action, so it requires effort; effort is a word that starts with the letter “e”.

Source: www.grammarerrors.com

 

Than Then – Good grammar, it’s hot! September 11, 2011

I think good grammar is important and attractive! As a VA, it is part of my job to notice grammar, spelling and the proper use of words. Common mistakes can do serious damage to an otherwise stellar reputation. Think about the image you project and proofread, do some research, look it up…or ask me!

And let me say that this one is a major pet peeve for me. So many people do not use these words correctly.

Than Then

Which is correct?

Chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla.

Chocolate ice cream is better then vanilla.

The correct choice is the first sentence using than.

Than is a subordinating conjunction. It is used in comparisons, as in the example sentence above in which two flavours of ice cream are being compared.

Then is considered a conjunctive adverb. It is used in reference to time, indicating that one action follows another.

We spent the morning sightseeing; then we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant.

Then and than are often pronounced as if they were the same word, which may explain why they are frequently confused in writing.

Source: www.grammarerrors.com

 

Stationary and Stationery – Good grammar, it’s hot! August 13, 2011

I think good grammar is important and attractive! As a VA, it is part of my job to notice grammar, spelling and the proper use of words. Common mistakes can do serious damage to an otherwise stellar reputation. Think about the image you project and proofread, do some research, look it up…or ask me!

Stationary and Stationery

Stationary and stationery are confused probably more by their similar spellings than by their definitions, which are quite different. The one-letter spelling difference in these two words makes them easy to confuse.

Stationary with an “a” means “not moving”: The dog lay stationary in the hot sun.

Stationery (with an “e”) refers to writing materials, usually paper.

A good way to remember the difference between the two is by associating the  “e” in stationery with envelopes, because envelopes are often used with writing materials.

Source: www.grammarerrors.com

 

Preventive Preventative – Good grammar, it’s hot! July 6, 2011

I think good grammar is important and attractive! As a VA, it is part of my job to notice grammar, spelling and the proper use of words. Common mistakes can do serious damage to an otherwise stellar reputation. Think about the image you project and proofread, do some research, look it up…or ask me!

Preventive/Preventative

According to Merriam-Webster Online, preventive and preventative (as  in preventive or preventative medicine) are interchangeable. Both words originate in the 1600s, though preventive precedes preventative by about 40 years.

My preferred word of choice? Preventive: it has one less syllable and rolls off the tongue more easily.

See also: Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s entries for preventive and preventative.

Source: www.grammarerrors.com

 

Podium/Lectern – Good grammar, it’s hot! June 8, 2011

I think good grammar is important and attractive! As a VA, it is part of my job to notice grammar, spelling and the proper use of words. Common mistakes can do serious damage to an otherwise stellar reputation. Think about the image you project and proofread, do some research, look it up…or ask me!

Podium/Lectern

If you’ve ever given a speech or lecture, you more than likely have used a stand called a lectern as a place to lay your papers or notes. However, you probably didn’t refer to the stand as a lectern. Like most people, you probably called it a podium. But a podium is actually a raised platform used to stand upon when speaking in front of a group. Remember that you stand behind a lectern, while you stand on a podium.

If you are wondering why one would differentiate between these two words, consider the origin of the word podium. It is a Latin word derived from the Greek word podion, a form of
pous or podos, meaning foot. Aha! By looking at the derivative of the word, it becomes clear why a podium is something that is stood upon–its root means foot.

Source: www.grammarerrors.com