‘Regard’ vs. ‘Regards’

  Regular readers* of this blog probably realize by now that I often react to poor usage almost as I do to the sound of fingernails on a blackboard. So – Surprise! Surprise! – here’s something else that bothers me: seeing “regards” written in place of “regard.” One extra letter makes a big difference. The […]

‘Simplistic’ vs. ‘Simple’

Simplistic ain’t simple. Well, actually it is … in the sense that the difference between the two words is clearcut or, you might say, plain and simple. We all know what “simple” means – “not complex, easy.” However, it’s such a simple word that sometimes, when some of us would like to sound more impressive […]

Sky’s the Limit for Hotel Tax? Ask Icarus!

  I wrote this opinion piece (op-ed) in response to an article that appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of the North Bay (California) Business Journal. It was published this week’s (Jan. 23) issue, which was delivered to my mailbox yesterday Jan. 21. (The published version appeared under an additional headline – “Visitors pay hotel […]

May I Help Who’s Next?

Have you ever been in a store needing assistance when a clerk or barista who’s just finished helping another customer asks, “May I help who’s next?” It’s happened to me more times than I can count – umpty-ump times at least, if not skatey-eight, as my mom used to enumerate such things. In checking to […]

A Delightful Collaboration

Dr. Richard R. Kelley with Howard and Sandra Yesterday, December 17, 2016, was the conclusion, for me, of a 14-year editorial collaboration* with a remarkable man, Dr. Richard Kelley, who, on the eve of his 83rd birthday, has just put down his pen as “scribe, editor and publisher” of a remarkable corporate newsletter. Saturday Briefing, […]

Tired of the Oxford Comma Debate?

Oxford, Harvard, Serial or Cereal Comma? We’re tired of the tiresome “Oxford” – or serial* – comma debate, whose annoying persistence seems largely the doing of the Oxford proponents. Proponents say that when you don’t use the serial comma, you can introduce ambiguity into a sentence. Serial comma opponents point out that when you do […]

‘Horde’ vs. ‘Hoard’

The Mongol Horde From time to time I’ve seen the words horde and hoard confused. But they’re as different in meaning as in spelling. Horde, a noun, refers to a very large group of people – e.g., a swarm, an army. In fact the word is often used to refer to the much-feared 13th century […]

‘Reticent’ vs. ‘Reluctant’

Reticent Reluctant I keep seeing and hearing this, so I thought I’d finally put in my two cents – reticent does not mean the same thing as reluctant. That’s right. Reticent means to be inclined keep one’s thoughts and feelings to oneself, to be reserved, uncommunicative, silent. Reluctant means unwilling, disinclined – not only in […]

‘Serve’ vs. ‘Service’

This pair of words can create amusing confusion. Serve means to provide goods or services. For example, “This restaurant serves excellent steaks.” Or, “The waiter serves flaming desserts with great flair.” (Pun intended. Not sorry!) Service, on the other hand, when used as a verb, has several specific meanings. The most common one is to perform […]

‘These Types Of’ vs. ‘Like These’

This video clip about typing is a funny way to call attention to a concern I have about  a particular use of the word type. (For clip, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypDwh2ShJ6A. Alert: I suggest watching the clip only after reading the rest of this short post. Clicking on the link may take you away from the post.) Something I read […]