Word Facts

  1. Dark green background with teal text that says "effect vs. affect"

    “Affect” vs. “Effect”: Use The Correct Word Every Time

    Affect or effect? Both of these words are verbs and nouns and their meanings overlap. Very confusing! This slippery duo can send even experienced writers into a spiral of uncertainty. Especially, since many people pronounce them in almost the exact same way. Here’s a basic guideline for affect vs. effect: Generally, we use affect as a verb (an action word) and effect as a noun …

  2. “Alpaca” vs. “Llama”: What Is The Difference?

    Move over flamingos, unicorns, and sloths, there’s another another animal that’s starting to take over as the trendy addition to mugs, clothing, and accessories. But are these adorable shaggy mammals popping up across home goods, clothing, and toys llamas? Or are these sweet, fluffy creatures that people adore called?alpacas? And what’s the difference between the two? Despite being commonly mixed up, llamas and alpacas are …

  3. “Barbecuing,” “Grilling,” And “Smoking”: What’s The Difference?

    Every year as the weather heats up, grills are dusted off and meats and vegetables are thrown on the fire. To those in the West and many northern cities, this is barbecuing.?Just don’t call it that in the South or parts of the Midwest like Kansas City, Mo., because in certain regions, not everything cooked on a grill is called?barbecue. The word barbecue means different …

  4. Why Does September Come From The Word “Seven”?

    For many, the month of September signals the end of summer, the beginning of autumn, and the start of a new school year. With respect to the calendar, September marks the beginning of the series of months named after their numerical position in the year. Strangely enough, however, September is not named after the number nine. What does September mean? September comes from the Latin …

  5. What Are The ( ) { } [ ] And ? ??

    Though these symbols—( ), [ ], { }, and ? ?—regularly appear in our books and screens, they all have odd, unexpected origins. What is the ( )? The most familiar of these symbols is probably the ( ), called parentheses. Fun fact: one of them is called a parenthesis, and as a pair, the plural are parentheses. Parenthesis literally means “to put beside,” from …

  6. “Net” vs. “Gross”: What Does This Difference Cost You?

    One of the basics of tennis is you never want to hit your ball into the net. Most people won’t confuse this mesh fabric divider that runs across the court with the word gross?(even if botching an easy volley straight into the net might feel gross). But when talking about money, the line that divides net and gross profits isn’t as clear. What is the …

  7. “Ketchup” And Other Words That Come From Mandarin Or Cantonese

    Think you only speak English? Think again. While you may not be fluent or able to write in another language, the fact is that English consists largely of words we’ve borrowed from other languages. In fact, about 80 percent of the English language is made up of these loanwords.?? It’s amazing really to think of how many languages you speak on a daily basis without …

  8. “Karen” vs. “Becky” vs. “Stacy”: How Different Are These Slang Terms?

    When it comes to certain white women these days, it doesn’t matter what lovely moniker their parents may have given them. They’ve also been deigned with the name?Karen, Becky, or Stacy. Why? These common names are now shorthand for a certain kind of woman who either behaves badly or others like to complain about. As viral videos of Beckys blow up and the service industry …

  9. Words To Describe Your Worst Fights

  10. Where Did The Word “Achoo” Come From?

    Every sneeze has a different ring to it, but there are only a few words in English that name the sound. Achoo is one of the most favored, but is it really a word? Where did achoo come from? This instance of onomatopoeia imitates the sound of sneezing. The first syllable mimics the quick intake of breath, while the second corresponds with the tone of …

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