September 21st, 2010
Tips, Tools and Tutorials
With the evolution of American English, words are constantly being accepted as correct, and colloquial terms are awarded respect. As search engines get smarter, grammar is going to be increasingly more important for site rankings, so it is important to incorporate proper grammar in your overall search marketing campaign. If you want your copy to stand out merely by choosing the appropriate word, read through some of these commonly confused terms.
Invite vs. Invitation: Many use them interchangeably, but they are still different words. E-vites have been around for almost a decade, and thanks to Facebook, online “invites” are now commonplace. The English language will surely accept “invite” as a noun and a verb eventually. As for now, it remains a verb.
Invite is the root word of both terms, and it is a verb; you can invite someone to an event. Did you invite your sister’s old roommate to the wedding?
Invitation is a noun; you can extend an invitation to someone to attend an event. Did you send out your wedding invitations this week?
Which vs. That: As a general rule of thumb, use which when the following clause can be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence, and use that when the following clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence. Which is generally preceded, or surrounded by commas, while that does not require comma use at all.
Fewer vs. Less: While both of these words simply mean the opposite of more, the way they are used is different. When nouns are countable, such as specific items, you should use fewer. There are fewer apples in this basket; 10 items or fewer. Less is used when items are not very easily counted without an additional form of measurement. There is less applesauce in this jar; this recipe calls for less flour. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and this one is no different; we typically use less to describe time, money and distance
Begun vs. Began: This one is much easier than you might think. Begun is the past participle form of begin; this simply means that you can only use it with the past tense of “to have.” We had begun to see results. We began to see results.
Who vs. Whom: This is an ago old query that many grammarians still have trouble with. Who is used in reference to the subject; whom is used in reference to the object. In the statement, “Who washed the dishes?” you are asking who is the person that washed the dishes. “Dishes” is the object because action is happening to them, so who is the subject. If you were to say, “Whom did you hit?” since hit is the action, and it is happening to whom, that makes whom the subject, and the appropriate word to use. If you’re still unsure, use Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tip: Think about he and him. If the answer is him, remember the m, and use whom. If the answer is he, leave the m off, and use who.
Every guide has mentioned the infamous three: you’re/your; they’re/there/their; and to/too/two, but I will quickly highlight these again, with a little help from Shakespeare.
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