Not Feeling So Well?

Home from work? Not feeling so hot? Perhaps you are you nauseated. Or is it nauseous?

It is a fair question. Not too long ago, those two words—nauseated and nauseous—meant two different things. Careful writers may wish to preserve the difference.

If something is disgusting and makes you feel sick, it is “nauseous,” that is, causing nausea. When you feel nausea, you are “nauseated.” That’s the distinction.

That said, “nauseous” is well on its way to replace “nauseated” in common parlance, as well as popular writing, especially on television. This is how language evolves. It is unfortunate only because now we have to find something else that means “causing nausea.”

We suggest maintaining the distinction, unless you are writing dialog for popular media. In that case, consider using “nauseous” to mean “nauseated.” Your editor may or may not call you on it, but if you are using it consciously, it is your decision. Even if it makes your editor nauseated.

–Michael Fink

How Do I Remember the Difference Between “Loose” and “Lose”?

A common error in English is to confuse “loose” (the opposite of “tight”) and “lose” (to misplace something). If you are one of those writers, the following tips may help. Choose whichever one sticks in your head!

Whatever you may think of the term, “loosey-goosey” is a nice little mnemonic.

“The loose moose didn’t want to lose his shoes.”

“If ‘loose’ has two letter o’s, what happens if you lose one?”

Hope this helps!

–Michael Fink

Oxford Comma Debate!

On June 24, there will be a live video debate about the use of the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma) on Facebook. If you want to get primed, read “The Best Shots Fired in the Oxford Comma Wars,” summarizing the various positions. Learn more about the event in “Who Really Cares About the Oxford Comma,” by Emma Green. This could be a brawl!

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