Deborah Brody Marketing Communications Percolating Creative Ideas * * * March 16, 2016 Spring is in the air! Greetings! Can you believe the offi

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Deborah Brody Marketing Communications

Percolating Creative Ideas

March 16, 2016
Spring is in the air!


About to bloom, 2010


Can you believe the official first day of spring is just a few days away? There’s nothing quite like seeing the first signs of spring, when formerly gray, leafless trees burst into bloom.

I have a couple of updates on the 2016 goals I mentioned in the last newsletter. I am pleased to report that I completed and received the Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing. The On Writing series on my blog is up, and scheduled to run the last Thursday of every month (except Thanksgiving). The first interview was with PR pro and author Carrie Morgan, and the second with former journalist and media relations expert Chuck Tanowitz. Tune in on March 31 for the third installment, featuring The Buzz Agency founder/owner Julie Mullen.

Do you ever struggle with certain words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings? Lots of people do. See below for what some of these words are and how to avoid mixing them up.

What is brewing for you now that we are finishing up the first quarter of the year? If you have any writing or copy editing needs coming up, be sure to get in touch.

Happy spring!



Beware the commonly confused words

There are many words in English that sound the same (homophones) or very similar, and because we “hear” in our heads as we write, they are often confused. Some mix-ups are due to writing too fast and not paying attention. Some are because the words are so similar that people are not quite sure of the difference.

Here are some of the most common:

Affect/effect: Affect is to cause a change, and effect is a result (although effect is also a verb meaning to bring about a result).

Their/there/they’re: You know the difference, but they all sound exactly the same!

Defuse/diffuse: Defuse is to reduce something, generally tension, while diffuse means widespread.

Discreet/discrete: Discreet means to not attract attention while discrete means separate.

Principle/principal: A principle is a fundamental rule while a principal means the most important, or a leader, generally of a school.

Stationary/stationery: Stationary means still, while stationery means paper or letterhead used for writing. The easiest way to know the difference is to think of the "e" in stationery as representing envelope.

Tenet/tenant: A tenet is a principle (see above) while a tenant is someone renting a property.

There are many lists of commonly confused words all over the Web. Here are links to lists from the Oxford Dictionary and from the Writing Center at the University of Richmond.

The solution is simple but not easy: First, be aware of which sets of words trip you up, and second, memorize the differences between them. You may also want to use the "find" option on Microsoft Word to look for commonly confused words, and then make sure they are used correctly in your document.


Communications tip: Use the "right" dictionary

Perhaps you use or the paperback dictionary you’ve had since college. That’s fine if all you are doing is looking up the meaning of a word. If you do any business writing, and you follow a style guide, you should be aware that not every dictionary is the same. The AP Stylebook’s dictionary of choice is Webster’s New World, and the Chicago Manual of Style relies on Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Remember, it’s not about which word is “right,” but rather about maintaining consistency by following the selected dictionary’s usage and spelling.


Let's work together!

Deborah Brody Marketing Communications services:

Writing and copy editing of marketing/communications materials
Communications and social media consulting
Communications and social media audits
Customized blog training and workshops


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