The social mediaverse can be a harsh, cold place. Popular one minute, a platform can disappear from users’ minds (and devices) the next. Read More
In this edition of ICYMI we look at Facebook’s latest platform changes, Hootsuite’s newest addition and Twitter’s event targeting tool that can help businesses reach target markets more effectively. Read More
As the sun sets on summer, here’s our monthly look at words:
-‘Different from’ vs. ‘different than’
-Expressing job titles
-Top misspelled words
Different From vs. Different Than
A friend told me she can’t bear it when TV news anchors say “different than” instead of “different from” when making a distinction. This is one of those ‘common language’ differences. While it may be generally accepted to say “different than” in everyday speech, it is grammatically incorrect. Read More
In this edition of ICYMI we look at Instagram updates that give brands more power, and users more freedom, as well as Twitter’s launch of a new data analytics tool. Read More
In this post we’ll look at two-word phrases that commonly appear in error as one word, rare instances when writing in passive voice may be the better choice, and more Confusables.
One- or Two-Word Phrases?
Do you ever notice two simple words that appear often together, mistakenly written as one word? Alot, flowerpot and schoolbus are some examples.
There is a precedent for this odd word fusion. In the Middle Ages, the expressions “all over,” “young man,” “as much” and “as well” were often written as one word. Conversely, some of today’s single words — including tomorrow, forever, instead, nonetheless, somewhat, whatsoever and notwithstanding — originally existed as two or more words.
In this edition of #ICYMI, we look at Instagram’s platform updates and Facebook’s new definition of a ‘click’ that will benefit advertisers (but not before it costs them more!). Read More
This month we’ll explore variations in form that can be confusing when some compound nouns move from singular to plural. We’ll also take a look at the word ‘literally’, semi- and bi- prefixes, and other Confusables.
Plural of Compound Nouns
There are several different types of compound nouns, so it’s not surprising errors often occur when they are pluralized. They can be hyphenated, as in ‘sister-in-law’; have spaces between the words, as in ‘cup of tea’; or be merged words, also known as closed compound nouns, such as ‘classroom.’ Mistakes are common in pluralization of the first two types. For virtually all merged compound nouns, like ‘toothbrush,’ you would simply add ‘es.’ But even that simple pluralization rule has some exceptions, such as ‘passersby’ and ‘paperwork.’
The instinct may be to pluralize the last word of compound nouns that have hyphens or spaces — common errors are ‘sister-in-laws,’ and ‘hole-in-ones’. In most cases you should simply pluralize the principal word, and/or the word that changes in number.
Some examples of exceptions and unique plurals:
*Other examples: ‘spoonfuls of honey,’ ‘bucketfuls of apples.’ Pluralizing the principal word, such as ‘teaspoonsful,’ is considered archaic.
Literally vs. Figuratively
The use of ‘literally’ when a meaning is intended figuratively happens frequently, though more often in speech than in written communications. If someone says, “This quarter was so tough we were literally pulling teeth to get enough sales,” you’d know they are joking (about the teeth, of course). Another example: “I have literally created a monster!” If you mean something figuratively, avoid using ‘literally.’ If you really want to use ‘literally’ — and it’s often not necessary to make your point — reserve it for expressing something that is true, such as “I literally walked three miles to get here.”
Bi-weekly vs. Semi-weekly; Bi-annual vs. Semi-annual
It’s easy to forget distinctions between similar words, like bi-weekly and semi-weekly. The simple way to remember is to consider their Latin roots: the prefix ‘bi’ means two, while ‘semi’ means half. A ‘bi’ prefix usually means “every two,” so ‘bi-weekly’ refers to every two weeks, and ‘bi-annual’ refers to once every two years. ‘Semi-weekly’ means every half week, and ‘semi-annual’ refers to every half year. A less common usage for ‘bi’ is “twice every,” but to avoid confusion it’s best to use ‘bi’ for “every two” and ‘semi’ for “twice every” week/month/year.
Here are pairs of words from The New American Dictionary of Difficult Words often mistaken for each other or used incorrectly:
Inapt/Inept: These words are often mixed up. While ‘inapt’ means unsuitable or inappropriate, such as an inapt comment, ‘inept’ refers to incompetence, as in “The inept bartender didn’t know what a Rusty Nail was.”
Insightful/Perceptive: ‘Insightful’ means characterized by an intuitive ability to understand the inner nature of something, as in “She made insightful comments about the cost of generating leads.” ‘Perceptive’ refers to the ability to clearly see and understand the external aspects of something, as in “He made a perceptive observation about my stage fright.”
In this week’s #ICYMI we look at changes to Twitter and Instagram.
Last month Twitter made it easier to track conversations surrounding a particular tweet by grouping them together and highlighting the most interesting parts of the conversation right below the tweet. With this latest algorithm change, replies and popular tweets will be easier to find.
Along with this change, conversations and related tweets are linked by a blue line making it easy for users to follow along. The tweets that have the most responses will be pushed to the top.
Overall this update will make it easier for brands to track the sentiment of a certain conversation. By pushing the most popular replies to the top, this will also filter out a lot of noise that often surrounds a conversation.
Additionally Twitter has now removed the 140-character limit for direct messages and expanded it to 10,000 characters. When combined with the fact that DMs are no longer limited to users who follow each other, it becomes clear that Twitter wants to enable longer, more meaningful conversations between users.
In other news, Instagram has introduced a new web design on desktop and mobile that makes user accounts look cleaner and photos much larger.
The most noticeable change is to profile pages on the desktop, which now have three large images in each row as opposed to the original five. Also, the grid of cover images at the top is gone and there are no longer borders and rounded edges. This makes it easier for users to digest images faster, without so much surrounding clutter.
This update is great for brands that are product focused as users may stay on their Instagram account longer. The more user-friendly and visually pleasing design for the desktop also signifies Instagram’s attempt at becoming more than a mobile application and destination for professional photographers.
Let us know what you think about these social media #ICYMIs by leaving a comment below and sharing on your social media accounts. Stay tuned for more social updates to help you manage your presence on social channels.
In this edition of #ICYMI we focus on two popular social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has announced a change in the platform’s algorithm that will affects users’ feeds while Twitter is giving users more freedom and tightening platform security. Read More