Month: July 2015

Leaped or Leapt?

Q: I’ve seen it written both ways: “leaped” and “leapt.” Which is correct? —Tony V. He leaped off the building. She leapt off the building. This may surprise you, but both “leapt” and “leaped” are acceptable past-tense and past-participial forms of the verb “leap.” It’s fine to use either one. According to Garner’s Modern American Usage, traditionalists prefer …

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Ensure vs. Insure

Q: Are “ensure” and “insure” interchangeable?—Anonymous  A: Some stylebooks say yes, and some say no. Are you any less confused? These two words are often used in place of each other, but WD’s style separates them.WD—and many other publications—uses “insure” only when referring to financial insurance policies. After signing a contract with a professional baseball team, …

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Since vs. Because

Q: I’ve always been told I have to use “since” when referring to time and “because” when referring to cause. Is that true? A: While “because” does imply cause, “since” can imply time or cause. What does that mean? It means that most of the time these words are synonymous and you can use either …

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Who vs. Whom

Q: I’ve been writing for a long time and always assumedwhichandthatwere interchangeable, but I’ve recently been told that isn’t the case. How do I make sure I’m using the right word?—Anonymous The battle over whether to use which or that is one many people struggle to get right. It’s a popular grammar question and most folks want a quick …

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Which vs. That

Q: I’ve been writing for a long time and always assumedwhichandthatwere interchangeable, but I’ve recently been told that isn’t the case. How do I make sure I’m using the right word?—Anonymous The battle over whether to use which or that is one many people struggle to get right. It’s a popular grammar question and most folks want a quick …

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Who vs. Whom

Q: I don’t understand the difference between who and whom. Can you please explain to me, in simple terms, how to differentiate between the two?—Anonymous The confusion between who and whom is one of the most common problems writers face. It can be tricky to find the correct use, and sometimes you may feel like locating the person who …

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Snuck vs. Sneaked

Q: I say “snuck” all the time (as in, “I snuck some cookies before dinner”), but my grandma is always telling me “snuck” isn’t a word and I should be saying “sneaked.” I’ve never heard anyone (other than her) use the word “sneaked.” Is she right? –Anonymous “Sneaked” versus “snuck” is one of those classic …

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