Sorry for the long delay between posts; been dealing with some personal stuff, more than the usual levels (those who know me already know the details; those who don’t have no need to).

Okay, let’s do a few others that almost everyone seems to get wrong:

  1. “a lot” is a synonym for “a whole bunch of stuff”; it can also be written as the single word “lots” if you prefer. However it should not be written as “alot” (that’s not only not a correct usage, it’s not even a word in the English language!). Meanwhile, if you spell it with two l’s (as in “allot”) you are dividing something into shares, as in “giving to each his allotted portion.”) This is less often misused.
  1. Then there is “principal” vs. “principle” . . . most folks know this, but still get it wrong at times.The “-pal” word has several meanings: (a) to describe an upper-management school official, (b) to indicate the “main” portion of something, or (c) to define the pre-interest portion of a financial transaction, such as a loan.The “-ple” version is a synonym for “tenet” (see below). (We could of course refer to a “lack of principles by the unprincipled principal” and be speaking about an educator with no ethical sense.)
  2. Speaking of tenets, that’s another word that gets confused, with the similar sounding word “tenant”!A “tenet” is one of a set of aspects or characteristics of something, as in the “tenets of good citizenship.” A “tenant” is someone who rents a property and lives or runs a business there, while paying rent to a “landlord.”
  3. And one more: “flair” vs. “flare” . . .  The first one has to do with style, panache or even affectation: one could have a “flair for decorating” or an “artistic flair.” The latter word describes a bright light, as in a “highway flare” or the “flare of a rocket.”