Compliment vs. complement: What’s the difference?

In this post, I'll review another set of homophones, or words that sound alike but have different meanings. Do you know the difference between compliment and complement? Read on to see some examples of their uses and to learn a trick for remembering which is which. Compliment is a noun or a verb that denotes … Continue reading Compliment vs. complement: What’s the difference?


Imply vs. infer

Although commonly misused, these words are not interchangeable. Which one should you use? imply: to suggest or indicate (something) without saying it directly Her tone of voice implied she was not happy with the committee's decision. infer: to deduce from the available evidence Based on his economic plan, I inferred he was a Democrat. Therefore, … Continue reading Imply vs. infer

That vs. which

Some uses of these words are obvious (e.g., Which one should you use?"), but others are more nebulous (e.g., Pick the one that/which is right!) (Note: In British English, the distinction between that and which is less clear, but we follow U.S. usage.) Use that for so-called essential clauses — that is, essential to the … Continue reading That vs. which


Because vs. since

It's a common mistake to confuse because and since. In most cases, these words are not interchangeable. Here's how to use them correctly and avoid confusion. Use because to denote a specific cause-and-effect relationship. He bought it because it was cheap. Do not use since to mean because. Otherwise, the meaning could be unclear. Consider … Continue reading Because vs. since


Who vs. that

Which statements are grammatically correct? Companies who do business with China should be on alert. The candidate that wins the election will face a divided Congress. A lion named Cecil, which sparked a debate about wildlife conservation, also taught scientists about big cats. The mice who were given the supplement died by the end of … Continue reading Who vs. that


Less vs. fewer

Here's a classic grammar conundrum: Less or fewer: Which one should you use? In general, use fewer for individual units and less for a bulk amount. I have fewer pencils than pens. The store sold fewer iPads than iPhones. I have less money than they do. Joe weighs less than John. Sometimes, a group of … Continue reading Less vs. fewer