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What the Heck Is a Heteronym?

windIf you’re like most people, you’ve heard of synonyms, antonyms and homonyms. They’re part of the basic English curriculum in every school, after all. However, you may have breezed through every grade, learning more about grammar rules with each successive year and never heard of a heteronym.

What Is a Heteronym?

A heteronym is similar to a homonym, with one key difference. A homonym refers to two words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have a different meaning. An example would be dust and dust, as you can use it as a verb “dust the table” and a noun “the dust on the table.”

A heteronym refers to two words that are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently with different meanings. The homonym thing has the power to make a few heads swirl, but heteronyms can really make you squirrelly. And to make matters even more confusing, each pair of heteronyms take on different grammatical roles, sometimes within the same sentence.  (more…)

Qualities of an Effective Translation Service

translateHere’s the thing about translation…you may need it all the time or only once in a long while, but it had better be accurate when you do it. Not many blunders will make you or your organization look as silly and unprofessional as poorly translated text. This is why we dedicated a previous post to the perils of using Google Translate.

It’s also why doing it yourself in any capacity can cause big problems. Even if you can carry on a conversation in French or another language, it doesn’t mean you have the skills to translate effectively. Look for these qualities when you need a good translation service.  (more…)

When to Put an Apostrophe Before the ‘s’ and When to Put It After

apostApostrophes play a big role in writing the English language. Not so much in an “understanding the meaning” kind of way, but more of a “proper punctuation” kind of way. If you forget the apostrophe when you write contractions like you’re, don’t or isn’t, most people will still know what you mean. Your punctuation will just be incorrect, which reflects on the overall quality of whatever you are writing.

The apostrophe ‘s’ rule is one that is easy to get wrong, even when you know where it should go and when. Here is a basic explanation with some examples to help you along.  (more…)

Then vs. Than…Yes They Do Have Different Meanings!

THENIf you needed even more evidence of how one letter can make a big difference, ‘then vs. than’ is a great example. People make mistakes with these two words all the time, but they often slip by unnoticed because the readers don’t know the rule either.

This might be fine in text messages or on social media, but on your website, in business documents or on term papers, it’s best to have a handle on it. When you mix them up, not only is your meaning wrong, but you’ll make yourself look kind of goofy at the same time.  (more…)