Will you get a gold star from Santa this year? Take my Christmas quiz and find out!

Do you know your PRESENTS from your PRESENCE, and your SLEIGH from your SLAY? Get your grammar gloves on – it’s time for my annual Christmas #confusables quiz!

There’s no prize for getting ten out of ten – just a smug sense of satisfaction and the knowledge that I needed to lie down in a darkened room after typing some of these.

Pick the correct use of the #confusables in the sentences below… I’ll start you with an easy one.

Scroll down for the answers when you’re done. No cheating now!

Question 1

a) “I should have put the turkey in the oven hours ago!”

b) “I should of put the turkey in the oven hours ago!”

Question 2

a) “Oh go on then – I’m not adverse to a mince pie at Christmas.”

b) “Oh go on then – I’m not averse to a mince pie at Christmas.”

Question 3

a) “Whose coming to the Christmas party this year?”

b) “Who’s coming to the Christmas party this year?”

Question 4

a) “Are you inferring I’ve had too much to drink?”

b) “Are you implying I’ve had too much to drink?”

Question 5

a) “Let’s have a glass of sherry while we watch the Queen’s speech.”

b) “Lets have a glass of sherry while we watch the Queen’s speech.”

Question 6

a) “Just look at the amount of presents under the tree this year!”

b) “Just look at the number of presents under the tree this year!”

Question 7

a) “I’ve had so many compliments about my new Christmas dress!”

b) “I’ve had so many complements about my new Christmas dress!”

Question 8

a) “Am I aloud to open one of my presents on Christmas Eve?”

b) “Am I allowed to open one of my presents on Christmas Eve?

Question 9

a) “Too many glasses of fizz at last night’s party have lead to a hangover!”

b) “Too many glasses of fizz at last night’s party have led to a hangover!”

Question 10

a) “Take my advise – sprouts are good for you!”

b) “Take my advice – sprouts are good for you!”

Scroll down for the answers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers

Q1) a
Q2) b
Q3) b
Q4) b
Q5) a
Q6) b
Q7) a
Q8) b
Q9) b
Q10) b

How did you do?

8 to 10: A* student – gold star for you

5 to 7: good effort – could do better

0 to 4: must pay more attention in English lessons*

*future issues of the Clever Copy Club newsletter

(Need to brush up on your #confusables and don’t already receive my monthly email tips and tricks? Sign up here.)

 

Imply or infer: do you know the difference?

IMPLY or INFER: tips and tricks to remember the difference

IMPLY and INFER are easy to confuse – especially if you’re new to the English language. But these two words are actually opposites.

Here’s a simple tip to remember the difference between IMPLY and INFER.

IMPLY is a verb that means to hint at something.

IMPLYING is done by the speaker. It relates to giving information.

“Are you IMPLYING that I lied?”

INFER is a verb that means to make an educated guess from the information presented to you.

INFERRING is done by the listener. It relates to taking information.

“From what you’ve said, I INFER that it wasn’t the first time this had happened?”

For more spelling and writing tips, check out my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter. Or tweet me your own favourite spelling tips that help you remember those tricksy #confusables.

Imply vs infer: do you know the difference?

Imply vs infer: do you know the difference?

Formerly vs formally: top spelling tricks to help you decide

FORMERLY or FORMALLY: which is which? Top spelling tips to remember the difference.

FORMERLY or FORMALLY – they sound the same but their meanings are very different.

So, what do these words mean – and how do you decide which spelling you need? It’s easy.

These simple spelling tips will help you decide whether you need the word FORMERLY or FORMALLY.

Formerly

FORMERLY means something that happened before, or in the past. The clue is in the root of the word: FORMER.

For example:

“I changed my name when I got married. I was FORMERLY known as Sarah Saunders.”

Formally

FORMALLY means in accordance with etiquette or convention. It’s easy to remember when you know it starts with FORMAL.

For example:

“These days, I’m FORMALLY known as Ms Townsend.”

I hope this helps you to remember the difference between FORMERLY and FORMALLY.

Want more spelling and writing tips?

Check out my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter. Got your own way of remembering how to spell those tricksy #confusables? I’d love to hear. Tweet me

Confusables formerly vs formally. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: FORMERLY vs FORMALLY. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Stationery vs stationary: simple tips to remember the difference

STATIONERY vs STATIONARY: which is which? Tips and tricks to remember the difference

STATIONERY and STATIONARY are commonly confused – and often by people who really should know better. I’ve seen graphic designers and printers offering ‘eye-catching STATIONARY’ more times than I care to remember – most recently in a glossy brochure promoting the services of a Gloucester-based design agency.

It makes me cringe – and I’m not the only one. So, here’s a simple tip to help you remember the correct spelling every time.

STATIONERY is a noun that means the tools used in offices, or for writing – paper and pens, in a nutshell.

You can remember E for Envelopes, or ER in papER.

For example:

“I used to love going back to school after the long summer holidays. It was always a good excuse to buy new STATIONERY.”

STATIONARY is an adjective used to describe something that’s still, or not moving.

Remember the AR in pARked cAR.

For example:

“Sorry I’m late – I was stuck in STATIONARY traffic.”

“Sorry I’m late – I was stuck in STATIONERY traffic” makes no sense. Unless it was a queue of Office World vans.

I hope this simple tip helps you remember the difference between STATIONERY and STATIONARY.

Want more writing tips?

For more language love, join my Clever Copy Club and get monthly updates direct to your inbox. Alternatively, email me, follow me on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn or like my page on Facebook.

Confusables stationary vs stationery. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: stationary vs stationery. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Number vs amount: top tips to remember which is which

Number vs amount: this simple tip will help you remember the difference

Of course you could! Here goes:

To start with, it can help to know that things you can count are called count nouns, and things you can’t count are called mass nouns.

Use AMOUNT for things you can’t count (mass nouns):

  • the amount of rain
  • the amount of information
  • the amount of coffee

Use NUMBER for things you can count (count nouns)

  • the number of rainy days
  • the number of facts
  • the number of cups of coffee

Simple as that: if you can count it, use NUMBER. If you can’t, use AMOUNT.

Did you know?

The same rule applies for LESS and FEWER, which are equally commonly confused.

Bonus tip

Once you know this, you can apply the same logic to MANY and MUCH.

Use MANY for things you can count, and MUCH for things you can’t.

For example:

  • Using too MANY words can confuse your message.
  • Too MUCH confusion can prevent customers from buying your products.

Want more writing tips?

For more language love, join my Clever Copy Club and get monthly updates direct to your inbox. Alternatively, email me, follow me on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn or like my page on Facebook.

Number vs amount: simple tips to remember the difference

Number vs amount: simple tips to remember the difference