Monday, September 24, 2012

Grammar Police Monday - Sometimes You Can Do No Wrong

Writers constantly struggle with commonly confused words, making sure they use the correct ones in their stories. Would you believe some words have more than one acceptable spelling? Today I'm going to list a few of those in hopes of mitigating the grammatical pressures I thrust upon you every Monday.

One pair of these words is adviser and advisor. Although spell-check seems to prefer the former, they both mean one who gives advice and they both are correct.


Another one is the color gray; grey is also acceptable. 

Next on the list: fulfill / fulfil, which means to carry out, bring to completion or satisfy. Either way you go, you'll fulfill the spelling requirement. :)

Others you'll want to check out are doughnut vs donut & loveable vs lovable.

Caveat: Your publisher might have preferences where words like these are concerned. I'm simply pointing out that these variations are generally acceptable. I'll graciously concede to professional editors, should they disagree with my post. ;)

30 comments:

  1. Yarp, gotta love the English language.
    Many of the preferences on these words depends the market they are meant for eg the American market vs the UK market.

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    1. Very true. Even so, it doesn't stumble me when I read to see grey or gray, etc.

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  2. And consistency is key! :) Great post, Melissa!

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    1. Yes, consistency! Excellent point Carrie. I have to be extra careful with this because sometimes I ping-pong back and forth on certain words. Not sure why though.... :/

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    2. Agree.

      When I was younger (in the days before home computers and 'spell check'), my mother used to get so exasperated with me when she would proof one of my papers for school. I'd misspell a word three or four different ways in the same paper! hahaha

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    3. Ha! That sounds just like me...only now... (;

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    4. Thank God for critique partners and other sets of eyes! :)

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  3. I love grey! Drives my CPs crazy though.

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  4. As long as one is consistent, it's all good!

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    1. Consistency seems to be the consensus. :P

      I kid. But y'all are right. Whichever you choose, you shouldn't switch back and forth in the same document.

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  5. One that makes me crazy is "catalog/catalogue". I like my "ue"--I guess I'm old-school. But spellcheck only likes the short version, even though both are now correct. Great post. A lot of people have a problem with "you're both right!"

    Love your Anti-Captcha button. I just snagged it for my blog. Down with CAPTCHA!!!

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  6. Dialog vs dialogue is another. I like and use the former. :)

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  7. Hey,

    THANKS!!! For years, seriously, the grey/gray debate raging in my head has turned my remaining hair grey (or gray :)

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  8. Adding back a comment that got eaten by the blog.

    From Anne R. Allen:
    One that makes me crazy is "catalog/catalogue". I like my "ue"--I guess I'm old-school. But spellcheck only likes the short version, even though both are now correct. Great post. A lot of people have a problem with "you're both right!"

    Love your Anti-Captcha button. I just snagged it for my blog. Down with CAPTCHA!!!

    ---
    Thank you, Anne!

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  9. I think the only real caveat to using a certain spelling is to make sure to use it consistently. Finally, me being obsessive about using certain spellings comes in handy.

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  10. Sounds like some spellings have become a moveable feast. ;)

    I honestly didn't know that both spellings of some of these (dialogue/dialog) were acceptable so thanks for clearing that up!
    And, for the record, grey has always been my preferred spelling, even before Fifty Shades came along!

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  11. Ever since I began reading these posts, I'm realizing the English language is way more complicated and confusing than I think it is. I better start paying more attention to my wrting.

    I use "fulfill" most of the time. As for "advisor\adviser", that one gets me but I hardly ever use it. I always use "gray" because it's most commonly used unless I have to use "grey".

    Great post, Melissa!

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    1. Agreed. As I make these posts, I'm learning the same thing.

      Thank you. :)

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  12. That's weird isn't it? No wonder the English language is so hard to learn!

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  13. Wow - the blog is eating comments this week.
    Here's another, from Kirsten:

    "Sounds like some spellings have become a moveable feast. ;)

    I honestly didn't know that both spellings of some of these (dialogue/dialog) were acceptable so thanks for clearing that up!
    And, for the record, grey has always been my preferred spelling, even before Fifty Shades came along!"

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  14. Grey is English & gray is American. Donut is sort of like slang, recognizable but technically incorrect. The words I always have to think about are passed & past. Then of course, there's lay & lie. Oy vey!

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    1. Passed and past get me, too. I know the difference when presented with the two, but I have to be careful not to type the wrong one when I'm writing. :)

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  15. Thank you for this...that whole adviser/advisor thing gets me nuts! I prefer with the "o", but you're right...spell check seems to like it the other way around. At least I know I'm not wrong now!

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    1. Ha! I think you were visiting my blog while I was visiting yours. :D

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  16. I find I get in trouble with American vs. British English spellings. A friend of mine swears I was British in another life because I sometimes spell color with that extra "u" without even realizing it. I do the same thing with a slew of other words, but I don't bother fixing it because its right!

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