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

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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.”

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Faze vs. Phase: A Grammar Lesson

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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.

Affect vs. Effect: A Grammar Lesson

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Just when I think I’ve got this one down, something trips me up.

Affect is something that happens. My favorite grammarian, Grammar Girl lists affect as a verb and is means to influence.

Effect is a result and a noun.

One is a noun, the other is a verb. With that, I shouldn’t be able to mix this up anymore.

Define Value on Twitter

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I’m skipping a grammar post this week to add my thoughts to a post Jason Mollica had last week. His post, Value to your community came from a past Twitter conversation he, Rachel Lawley and I had.

My comment was that the litmus test that I use when deciding when to follow a PR pro, “social media expert” or other big name on Twitter is, “Would you work with that person in real life?”

I realize, after reading the comments on Jason’s post, that my initial comment may have been taken a bit out of context. There is some background information that would help further explain my personal litmus test.

I first joined Twitter after the urging of several friends. Some of whom are in the PR business and some of who are not. Those that are in the business suggested I check out various Top 100 PR People on Twitter lists. Their advice was to start by following them all and then pare them down based on the relevant information in their tweets. Keep following those that added to my knowledge base and stop following those that didn’t.

Several of the people I followed because they were big names, didn’t add anything for me. Some of them have become close confidants and advisers and I can’t imagine operating without them. I would even go so far as to call some of them friends.

Then there’s the middle ground of people I follow on Twitter because they’re fun and entertaining. While they might not necessarily add value, they make me laugh. I’ll be the first to admit, I follow Sesame Street because the tweets make me happy. Would working every day with Elmo eventually irritate me? Probably.

For me, Kelly Misevich‘s comment on Jason Mollica’s post sums it up, “Social media is all about we, not me. You have to think about your followers and ‘friends’ when you are using social media.”

I see Twitter as a place to learn because I will never know it all, as a place to meet people I might not others have met and to laugh because a day without laughter is the saddest day of all.

Some Time Vs. Sometime: Another Grammar Lesson

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I find this fairly straight forward, yet I still trip up on it occasionally. 

Sometime means eventually, an eventual future. Example: I will get to New York sometime next year. If you can substitute eventually and the sentence still makes sense, use sometime. 

Some time means an unspecified amount of time. Example: I spent some time on the phone with her. In this instance, some is an adjective modifying time. If you can use another adjective and the sentence still makes sense use some time. 

This is the same for other some words. Someday and some day.