Recently, I’ve heard people use “simplistic” when they meant “simple.” I searched my blog and found this post from a year ago and think it’s worth repeating.
I have written about the difference between long and lengthy and how the latter has a negative connotation, implying something is going on longer than it needs to. A long speech may be hard to listen to, but a lengthy one may verge on torture. Most people use lengthy (or God forbid, lengthly) because they think it sounds more professional. It isn’t.
The same can be said about simplistic. It is not a fancy-schmancy way to say simple. It means something that is overly simple, and therefore inadequate. Roger’s simplistic explanation left the audience with more questions than answers.
Don’t write (or talk) to impress. Your goal is to be clear and understood. Isn’t that what you want from others’ communications?
Which sentence is grammatically correct?
1. My boyfriend likes soccer more than me.
2. My boyfriend likes soccer more than I.
Hmmm. You’re thinking about this one. Scroll down and see if you are correct.
Both sentences are correct. The first one is really saying that my boyfriend likes soccer more than he likes me. The second sentence says he likes soccer more than I do.
If you’re not sure about which pronoun to use, think about what the sentence is actually saying and add the missing but understood words.
Here are a few sentences asking you to decide which verb is correct:
1. Each of the Congress members in the border districts (is, are) being polled on the immigration proposal.
2. A list of the employees of the Internal Audit Department requesting flexible vacation days (is, are) posted in Sheridan’s office.
3. Every member of the committee reviewing the bylaws (needs, need) to send in recommendations by next Friday.
Finished? The correct answer in each sentence is the first choice. Verbs have to agree with their subjects—singular with singular, plural with plural.
In the first sentence, the subject is “Each.” The next two pieces of the sentence before the verb are prepositional phrases, and the subject of a sentence is never found in a prepositional phrase. “Members” and “districts” are objects of their preceding prepositions but neither can be the subject.
The subject in the second sentence is “list,” for the same reason, as is “member” in the third sentence.
If you are not sure what your subject is, temporarily cross out the prepositional phrases. You’ll then be down to the skeleton of your sentence and the verb will become apparent.
How did you do?
The distinction between these two is not difficult, yet people often confuse them.
INTO is a preposition and indicates movement either within something else or toward it:
“I drove into downtown Chicago although I had never been there before and was unsure where I was going.”
“Harry tried to put his new iPhone6 into his pocket but found it wouldn’t fit.”
IN TO comprises the adverb “in” and is followed by “to,” which is another preposition.
“I listened in to see if I was interested in their discussion of ‘Homeland.’ “
Here’s an easy way to distinguish these two constructions:
INTO almost always answers the question “Where?”
IN TO indicates “in order to.”
Let’s try this out: Harry put his new iPhone6 where? Into his pocket (or at least he tried).
Why did I listen in? In order to see if I would be interested in their conversation.
Got it? Good!
The first meaning or spelling you find in the dictionary is the preferred one. The first definition of “presently” is “soon, in the near future.”
“Currently” means “now, at the present time.”
Many people use “presently” interchangeably with “currently,” because, most likely, they are thinking of “at the present time.”
I prefer to make the distinction between these two words. As always, though, common usage will be the deciding factor.