Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Writing Tip of the Day: Common Errors Part III

We have a lot of fun here on the Empirical blog poking fun at English conventions that we all take for granted. So in our continuing bit about common writing errors, we bring a few more noteworthy and easily avoidable editing gaffes. 

  1. Principal/principle
    • Both can be used as nouns, but only one can be used as an adjective
      • The principal on the project was Ms. Jane. 
      • The principal advantage of jogging is being able to outrun zombies. 
      • The most important principle of writing is to write. 
  2. Respectfully/respectively
    • Both are adverbs
      • Respectfully, I must disagree.
      • I find you and John to be fun and irritating, respectively. 
  3. Then/than
    • An adverb, adjective, and a noun versus a conjunction and preposition
      • If you want to pass a class, then you have to study. 
      • The then unknown physicist worked as a patent clerk.
      • This PowerPoint has more slides than last week. 


  1. lol. Fun. glad it isn't pendantic. Is that the right word?

  2. Do you mean pedantic?


  3. Grammar can really make or break any kind of written composition, especially on academic papers. When it is time for student to defend their thesis, grammar is one of aspect that help with thesis to be easily presented. Anyway, this would certainly help a lot of writer on whatever field they may be.