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Department of English Grammar

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Posts tagged SPELLING

What’s up with “alot,” “allot,” and “a lot”?

If we got a dollar every time someone used “alot” instead of “a lot,” we’d be able to buy Tumblr.

Here’s the rundown on alot, allot, and a lot.

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If you’re a fan of comics, you should definitely check out Allie Brosh’s blog.

As far as allot and a lot are concerned, here is the tl;dr answer:

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Although we have not gone over our allotted space, we think we’ve said a lot, so with a recap (featuring Alot), we bid you adieu.

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What’s up with “center” and “centre”?

For all intents and purposes, “center" and "centre" are different spellings of the same word.

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Because so many different countries speak their own version of English (the U.K., the U.S., Canada, and Australia, just to name a few), it would be interesting to see if “center" and "centre" work in ways that are different from what we explained above.

Feel free to chime in: Do you use “center” and “centre” as two different words? If so, what country are you in?

Proper Grammar Saves Lives

takanobaka:

"We’re planning a surprise party," says the email from your friend. "Be discrete.”

In your chair, you stare at your leg for a long moment. Be discrete, you tell yourself, and grasp the limb firmly in your other hand. Slowly, you begin to pull.

You hear the sound of your flesh ripping as you strain to pull, the sinews tearing as sweat runs down your forehead. Finally, in one last wrench, femur is rended from pelvis with a sickening snap, and dismembered leg falls to the ground. Mechanically, you begin on the next limb.

When you are finished, what is left of you lies abandoned on the ground in a grotesque display that barely resembles the being you once had been. Your arms and legs are scattered, torn remains of muscles and bones showing where they had once been connected to the torso in the middle. Your head has rolled on its side, staring unblinkingly at the wall as blood pools around your computer chair. You are in separate pieces, each distinct and individual from the next. You are discrete.

If only your friend had asked you to be discreet instead.

What’s up with British and American spelling?

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For a longer list of such words, click here. That article we wrote on Medium has a link to 1,800 words that are spelled / spelt differently between American and British English.

Get off the aeroplane’s wing, Patrick. An airplane (or its wing) is no place for a starfish.

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What’s up with “alumnus,” “alumna,” “alumni,” and “alumnae”?

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Let’s suppose that you’re about to graduate from college. Naturally, you’re excited about buying a license plate frame for your car to express your pride in your alma mater.

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But don’t rush into buying any license plate frame; make sure that you don’t embarrass your school by purchasing the wrong one!

Before you grab the coolest looking “Alumni - (Name of School)" license plate frame, ask yourself the all-important question: Am I an “alumnus,” “alumni,” “alumna,” or “alumnae”? (Many people have never even heard of the last two; therefore, very few companies even make such license plate frames. We happened to find one such plate in the wild.)

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You might have read all this and asked, "Who the [grawlix] cares?”

YOU should, my friend. It all begins with YOU

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Words (even Latin ones) have meanings.

P.S. The abbreviation “alum" works in place of "alumnus" and "alumna," and "alums" works in place of "alumnae" and "alumni."

What’s up with “than” and “then”?

We use than to make unequal comparisons (e.g., more than, less than, taller than, faster than, richer than).

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Need more examples?

  • I have more homework assignments to finish than you do.
  • Get back home no later than midnight, OK?
  • Jake claims that he loves food more than he loves people.

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We use then to mean “at that past time,” “next,” or “therefore.”

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So remember: if you flip the A in “thAn” to the side, it looks like a > (greater than) symbol. We use than in unequal comparisons (greater than, less than, etc.). Otherwise, you’re looking for then.

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