© Judi Birnberg
Don’t write “can’t” when you really mean “can”:
See if you can’t get Jim to give you the proposal by noon.
Whenever possible, it’s better to state things positively.
Instead of writing, We can’t refund your money because you haven’t submitted your form, try this: As soon as you submit your form, we will be able to refund your money.
Aren’t these two words confusing? Bi— means two, but which one refers to twice a year and which one means every two years? Here’s the scoop:
BIANNUAL means something that happens twice in one year: We change our clocks biannually.
BIENNIAL means an act that occurs once in every two years: United States congress members are up for re-election biennially.
I think these definitions are ones you just have to memorize. If you can think of a helpful trick, let me know.
These two words are commonly mistaken for each other or thought to be able to be used interchangably.
PAST refers to a previous time:
• History refers to past events.
• I knew Robert in years past, but would not have recognized him today.
• Past behavior is often predictive of future behavior.
PASSED is the past tense of the verb TO PASS and has several meanings:
• It can mean to have skipped your turn: Erica passed her turn at bridge.
• Another meaning, in sports, is to have moved an object from one player to another: The hockey player passed the puck to his teammate.
• It also represents the movement of going by another person: Jessica passed (by) her ex-boyfriend in the hall but pretended not to see him.