Words are misused as often as song lyrics are messed up. I think of the movie Bull Durham, Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) and Nuke Calvin (Tim Robbins) seated on the team bus headed to an away game and Nuke is being guitar guy and singing, Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding. Nuke is butchering the song lyrics and finally when he sings, “Women get woolly” and Crash has had it, he grabs the guitar and tells Nuke, ” Stop it. No one gets woolly, women get weary.” Then goes on to explain his frustration with Nuke’s wasting of his talent.
The point of this story is that as writers, we need to not get woolly. (Just kidding). It is important to do our best to best use the words correctly, and not waste our talent. I have done some research into the most commonly misused words and have decided to share them all week. Here we go!
Capitol vs. Capital
The capitol is a state or government building. A way to remember this is to think “Oh, boy another politician.” The “Oh,” representing the “o” in Capitol.
Capital has a few meanings. The capital letter as in, begin sentences with a capital letter. Another being financially related. We need the capital to make this deal come together. Finally, and probably the most confusing because of the other spelling. The use of the word capital as in, the capital of the state of Arizona is the city of Phoenix.
This capital is where the misuse often happens, but if you think of Phoenix as the city of Phoenix, you may be able to remember that the capital used has no “O” but only an “I” like in “city”.
Imply vs. Infer
This one is often just a matter of knowing the meaning of the two words.
Imply is a suggestion of something.
Example: She implied that he had directions to the party, clearly, he did not, which is why we are late.
Infer is to deduce from evidence
Example: She inferred that he had directions to the party as she pulled the mapquest directions in his pocket.
How to Use However
However has two meanings, that depend on the use of commas.
When used at the beginning of a sentence and has no comma it means “no matter how.” Example: However difficult the task, you should enjoy the process
When used with a comma, no matter the location of the word in the sentence, it means “nevertheless”
Example: I was about to go home, however, I will stay and help you.