Archive for May, 2011

Some commonly confused words

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Tallent Agency VA Services

I read a LOT – there is honestly nothing I love more than reading a good mystery or thriller. I find a few typos in print books by really famous authors I collect, as well as on web pages and posts to social media sites.

When I am reading for pleasure instead of for “work” as a proofreader and editor , I try my best to ignore the errors and just enjoy the reading, BUT the proofreader in me is always at least lurking in the background.

I love the articles from DailyWritingTips and save some to use as a guest post here on my blog. Some of the words in one article on miss-used words are also ones that even Microsoft Word’s spellchecker do not catch so it is very important, to ME, anyway, to know which instance of the word works where.

Here are some from the article that I see used incorrectly a lot AND spell check does not usually catch them:

1. a while / awhile: “A while” is a noun phrase; awhile is an adverb.

2. all together / altogether: All together now — “We will refrain from using that two-word phrase to end sentences like this one altogether.”

3. amend / emend: To amend is to change; to emend is to correct.

4. amount / number: Amount refers to a mass (“The amount saved is considerable”); number refers to a quantity (“The number of dollars saved is considerable”).

5. between / among: The distinction is not whether you refer to two people or things or to three or more; it’s whether you refer to one thing and another or to a collective or undefined number — “Walk among the trees,” but “Walk between two trees.”

6. biannual / biennial: Biannual means twice a year; biennial means once every two years.

7. bring / take: If it’s coming toward you, it’s being brought. If it’s headed away from you,
it’s being taken.

8. compare to / compare with: “Comparing to” implies similarity alone; “compare with” implies contrast as well.

9. compliment / complement: To compliment is to praise; to complement is to complete.

10. comprise, consist of / compose, constitute: Comprise means “include,” so test by replacement — “is included of” is nonsense, and so is “is comprised of.” The whole comprises the parts or consists of the parts, but the parts compose or constitute the whole.

11. connote / denote: To connote is to convey (“Air quotes connote skepticism or irony”);
to denote is to specify (“A stop sign denotes the requirement to halt”).

12. continual / continuous: Continual events are frequently repeated, or intermittent. Continuous events are uninterrupted, or constant.

13. credible / credulous: To be credible is to be authoritative; to be credulous is to be gullible.

14. deserts / desserts: If you eat only cake, pie, ice cream, and the like, you eat just desserts. If you have it coming to you, you get your just deserts as well. (However, the connotation is negative, so hit the gym.)

there were 50 “common words and phrases” in this article, but these are the ones that really struck me as occurring quite often and I wanted to share them with you. The entire article with all 50 is here: 50 Problem Words and Phrases.

Spelling & Grammar Errors Can Really Be Costing You Business!

Remember, I am a Virtual Assistant who LOVES to do editing, proofreading
and transcription assignments along with research, blog posts, article submissions
and social media maintenance!

Why not Schedule a Project now?

VA Tip: Are You Doing What You Love?

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Tallent Agency VA Services

One of the things that I do as a Virtual Assistant is help other VAs.
I happen to be a member of Sophie Zollman’s team. She is a very savvy
business woman and here is one of her great articles from her ezine.

VA Tip: Are You Doing What You Love?
Guest Post by Sophie Zollman
of SophieZo, LLC Virtually There For You


Many business owners start their own business to do something they love, something they have great passion for. Those same business owners end up spending more time running the business instead doing the part they love. Why? They try to do it all. When they do it all themselves, they spend more time on running their business.

Many of the tasks required to run a business are difficult, time consuming and even a drag. When you get mired in that, you lose focus on your passion. You can no longer do what you love. You are too busy doing the “daily grind” stuff. One of the best ways to get out of that “mess” is to hire a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager.

VAs and OBMs are not employees. They are independent contractors working from their own home office. In many cases, they are small business owners, too, but running a business is their specialty. They can generally do those things faster, more efficiently, and they actually enjoy doing it, too. You don’t pay them for vacation or sick time. They have their own equipment. The best part of this is that you only pay for the work they do. They are not on the clock from 9 to 5 waiting for work to come in when things are “slow.” You have less overhead and better productivity.

If you are in business to do what you love and find yourself NOT doing what you love, it’s time to talk to a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager. By delegating the business tasks to a VA or OBM, you can return to doing what you love. When you’re doing what you love, you’re growing your business, making more money and enjoying life again. You will have more time for everything you love both in your personal and business lives. Talk to a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager today and get back to doing what you love most!

Thanks, Sophie, for both this wonderful information and for allowing ME to be a happy member of YOUR team.

Remember, I am a Virtual Assistant who LOVES to do editing, proofreading
and transcription assignments along with research, blog posts, article submissions
and social media maintenance!

Why not Schedule a Project now?

10 Words That Don’t Mean What You May Think They Do

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Tallent Agency VA Services

Another great article from Daily Writing Tips that I just had to share.

As English evolves, word meanings shift and turn, sometimes reversing themselves altogether. These ten words have shifted their senses over the years. In some cases, we are wise to likewise be flexible; in others, we relax our vocabulary at the expense of useful distinctions:

1. Decimate

The literal meaning of this word, as all you lovers of Latin (not to be confused with Latin lovers) know all too well, is “to reduce by one-tenth,” supposedly from the punitive custom of selecting one out of ten captives by lot and killing those so selected. But the senses for this rhadamanthine Roman policy have proliferated, so that now it means “tithed,” “drastically reduced,” or “destroyed” as well.

2. Disinterested

Commonly employed to mean “not interested,” disinterested has a precise, useful meaning of “neutral, unbiased.”

3. Enormity

Some people would reserve this word to mean “monstrously wicked,” but, in truth,
it is properly invoked to refer to anything overwhelming or an unexpected event
of great magnitude, and thus it need not be invariably corrected to enormousness
except when it is clearly in reference to a loathsome occurrence.

Refrain, however, from diluting the word’s impact in such usage as “The enormity of the new stadium struck them as they approached the towering entrance.”

4. Fortuitous

This word means “occurring by chance,” but its resemblance to fortune has given it an adopted sense of “lucky.”

For meticulous adherence to the traditional meaning, use fortuitous only in the sense indicated in this sentence: “His arrival at that moment was fortuitous, because her note
had not specified the exact time of her departure.” Nothing in the context qualifies his arrival as fortunate; the sentence merely states that he arrived in time without knowing that he would do so.

The informal meaning is expressed here: “His fortuitous arrival at that very moment enabled him to intercept the incriminating letter.” In this sentence, the time of his appearance is identified as a lucky stroke.

5. Fulsome

This term originally meant “abundant, generous, full,” but that sense was rendered obsolete when the word acquired a negative connotation of “offensive, excessive, effusive.” Conservative descriptivists rail against the use of fulsome in a positive sense, but the cold, hard fact is that this sense has been increasingly resurgent for many years, and the adulatory meaning is now much more common than the condemnatory one.

If you wish to stand fast before the tsunami of inevitability, be my guest, but fulsome as an exquisite insult has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Some commentators recommend that because of the word’s ambiguity, it’s best to avoid its use altogether.
If you insist, make sure the context is clear.

6. Ironic

The impact of ironic has been diluted because many people use it to mean “coincidental,” when its traditional definition is “counter to expectations or what is appropriate.”

7. Literally

Some folks get exercised when this term is used in place of its antonym, figuratively. However, in a hyperbolic sense, that meaning is justified. Unfortunately, that sense is literally overused.

8. Notorious

This term is occasionally used in a neutral sense, but that’s not an error, but the word literally means “known.” However, its dominant connotation is that the fame is a result of infamy.

9. Peruse

This victim of definition reversal literally means “to use thoroughly,” and its first sense is that of careful steady or attentive reading. However, many writers (myself included) have employed it as a synonym for scan — enough writers, as a matter of fact, that its second sense is “to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner.”

Unfortunately, these mirror meanings mean that if you use the word, I advise you to support it with context that clarifies the intended sense.

10. Plethora

Plethora originally referred to an excess of something, but that usage is rare now, and more often the sense is simply of abundance. The medical meaning of swelling caused by an excess of blood is all but unknown.

I love these articles and hope my readers do as well. I love expanding my word knowledge and this is my favorite ezine for spelling and grammar and word usage information.

Remember, I am a Virtual Assistant who LOVES to do editing, proofreading
and transcription assignments along with research, blog posts, article submissions
and social media maintenance!

Why not Schedule a Project now?

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Over the past 17+ years, Jan Tallent has spent countless hours providing writers and webmasters with free friendly tips on how to correct spelling and grammar errors in their written material.

From the feedback received she decided that since proofreading and editing help was so desperately needed, she should build a business around something she enjoys doing, while at the same time providing a valuable service to business owners and writers.

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