Their Cheatin’ Hearts

In one of my university classes the other night, I sat through some student presentations on [tag]academic dishonesty in education[/tag].  One group did a well-researched job on [tag]grade inflation[/tag], detailing its causes and potential cures.  The other group presented what on the surface appeared to be a primer on how to cheat and why it’s […]

Tips on Using Who and Whom

I believe I’ve mentioned before that, in speaking at least and often in writing, using who exclusively and forgetting whom exists will work just fine. However, the other day I listened to a radio ad about an online dating service in which a woman extols the qualities of her new boyfriend “who I met online,” or […]

Comprised v. Is Comprised Of

I’ve always run into those blow-hard [tag]editors, copyeditors and proofreaders[/tag] who insisted that comprise be used in the active sense, meaning "to include." Hence, one could write, "The program comprises dieting, exercise, and yoga." One could not write this in the passive voice, "The program is comprised of dieting, exercise, and yoga," which is the way […]

My Compliments on Your Complementary Work

My title is an example of two words that are often confused.  Actually, what’s confused in many writers’ minds is how to use and spell complementary. I’ve even seen professional Web sites where companies are trying to sell their “complementary services” and they use complimentary completely incorrectly.  Sure, I’ll take their free services anytime. Here’s an […]

Use of Subjunctive Mood in Verbs

Now here’s a misusage that almost no ear, nor eye, will ever catch.  What’s wrong with this lyric: “If I was a rich man…”? If this clause reads and sounds okay to you, then you’re definitely among the majority of English users who don’t know, don’t understand or otherwise just ignore the subjunctive mood. Briefly, the […]

Word Confusion: Gleam and Glean

I was dashing off an e-mail just now, and I used the word gleam in the sense of examining some documents and deriving meaning. Something struck me as odd about the word.  It turns out that I really meant glean. It’s a good thing I turned instantly to my cyber-buddy Dictionary.com to verify my spelling and […]