Than vs. Then: A Grammar Lesson

 

Image from theoatmeal.com (always good for a laugh)

 

Full disclosure, in high school, I once wrote an entire paper without than. I had convinced myself it wasn’t a word. Part of that was writing the paper a little too late in the evening and part of it was general confusion. The day after I turned the paper in, my teacher stopped me on the way out of class with a laugh, turns out I wasn’t the first and I’m sure I won’t be the last to make this mistake.

So given that tidbit, it should be no surprise that nearly a decade later, I still see this same mistake in other’s writing. As you can see from theoatmeal.com’s rendition, this grammar mistake is really easy to fix.

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After Much Contemplation…

I’ve decided to change the focus of Dispatches from the Castle a smidge. From now on, the topics won’t just be work etiquette or grammar related. I’m so much more than my usual 8 to 5 career! And I think it is time I shared that.

So starting on Monday, I will begin including recipes I’ve found that I like (or hate!) and comments on my other activities and whatever else intrigues me.

This is all not to say that there won’t be work or life etiquette posts because that isn’t true. Just every single post won’t be on that topic any more.

Bring vs. Take: A Grammar Lesson

Image from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_GHIgmLZU2xg
I wasn’t sure of the right answer on this one when a reader asked the other day.

After some research and a quick visit to Grammar Girl, I learned that it is a fairly simple rule, you bring something to where you are, you take something to where you are going.

Her example is, “I would ask Aardvark to bring Squiggly to my party next week, and then Aardvark would call Squiggly and ask, ‘May I take you to Grammar Girl’s party?’ I am asking Aardvark to bring Squiggly because I am at the destination—from my perspective, Aardvark is bringing someone here. Aardvark is offering to take Squiggly because he is transporting someone to a remote destination—from Aardvark’s perspective, he is taking someone there.”

Sounds easy, right? It is, but there are exceptions. For those you should go to Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips on the topic, here.

Could Care Less vs. Couldn’t Care Less: A Grammar Lesson

Image from: http://rlv.zcache.com
This cliché sees to throw people for a loop. The right phrase is, “I couldn’t care less.” Because if you “could care less,” you are caring some.

Still want more proof?

From the The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, “This expression originated about 1940 in Britain and for a time invariably used couldn’t. About 1960 could was occasionally substituted, and today both versions are used with approximately equal frequency, despite their being antonyms.”

Faze vs. Phase: A Grammar Lesson

Image from: http://www.todayifoundout.com
Today’s grammar lesson comes from Steve Woodruff, President of Impactiviti.

He had a tweet a few weeks ago that made me laugh at first and then cringe a little as I started noticing it in various places and different contexts.

Woodruff’s tweet was, “btw, nothing will ‘phase’ you unless you are on a Star Trek set. However, something might or might not ‘faze’ you.”

Faze according to merriam-webster.com is an “alteration of feeze to drive away, frighten, from Middle English fesen, from Old English fēsian to drive away” as of 1830 it means “to disturb the composure of.”

Phase “is a noun or verb having to do with an aspect of something.” You can phase something in or go through a phase.

So unless you’re writing science fiction avoid using phase to mean upset.