Word to the Wise

#WordtotheWise: “Lay/Laid” vs. “Lie/Lay”

These are perhaps the most confused set of verbs, but it is really pretty simple. Use an object with the word "lay." You must lay something somewhere. Or if you did it in the past, you laid it there. Lie means to recline. So you do...

#WordtotheWise: Innovate/Create/Develop

Innovation is good, right? It implies leading the way, at the cutting-edge, new! Does a “creation” or a “development” seem more neutral because the result could be viewed either way, from positive to flat, while an innovation has intrinsic value?  Perhaps—but that is no reason...

#WordtotheWise: Double Trouble

I recently received an official government document about protecting my identity by securing my PIN Number; my personal identification number number. You know, the one I use at the automatic teller machine machine. When I lived in Indonesia I found the repetition of a word...

#WordtotheWise: Is ‘Unique’ Unique?

A pessimistic editor once told me to never to use the word “unique,” because advertising has diluted its meaning. I don’t fully agree with her, and I like to think it is because I take a more optimistic approach—some things really are one-of-a kind.  Who...

 #WordtotheWise: e.g. vs. i.e.

Since these abbreviations are both Latin, let’s ensure we are not speaking Greek. The Latin phrase “id est,” means “that is,” and can be abbreviated “i.e.,” (not “t.i.”) to further explain something. The abbreviation of “exempli gratia,” meaning “for example” is useful when you want...

#WordtotheWise: Use vs. Utilize

We just had a little discussion in our office about how using the word “utilize” in place of “use” is good when it comes to pretentious buzzwords, but in all other cases the word “use” will do. Internet consensus also shows that “utilize” may be...

#WordtotheWise: Critical/Crucial/Key/Vital

When is “important” important enough to be critical, crucial, vital or key? Or, to take the reverse, why is it not enough anymore to be “important?” It is! VCP, VVP and VKP just don’t have the same ring to them as VIP. While synonyms offer...

Word to the Wise: 5 Commonly Misused Words in PR

Most public relations professionals relay on their spell checkers. Looking for red underlings to help identity misspelled words can provide a misleading confirmation of accuracy. If those first two sentences weren’t like nails on a chalk board, you definitely need to read this post. Technology is our friend, right?...