Which Word When?

As we proof text, we have noticed — as many others have — that a document’s spell checker doesn’t catch every mistake. It won’t catch the incorrect usage between it’s/its and you’re/your or even laid/lain/lay/lied or big/large. Take the time to double check your word use to keep all text associated with your brand error-free.

When in doubt about a word or a phrase, type it into your browser, and you’ll inevitably find a grammar website to set you straight. Two websites we use regularly are Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL) and the AP Stylebook online. Online dictionaries, such as Merriam Webster, can be helpful as well.

Other Resources

Even in the age of the internet, there are still some handy books we rely on for help and find ourselves using often when double checking words and phrases. Here are just a few:

One resource we use is a little book copyrighted way back in 1989. Which Word When? by Paul Heacock lists alphabetically the correct use of the above words as well as affect/effect, grey/gray, naked/nude (yes, they are different!) among many more.

Another useful book is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. This book is similar to Which Word When? in that it goes in alphabetical order on the usage of words. This book has been updated several times, so there are multiple editions available.

The AP Stylebook by the Associated Press is a perfect reference for those following AP Style. It is, essentially, the one-stop shop, go-to book on AP Style.

Another widely used reference is The Chicago Manual of Style by the University of Chicago Press. This is probably the best guide to use when writing in Chicago Style.

The list of reference books and online grammar sites goes on and on—we encourage you to find the ones that work for you. Keep in mind your style of writing when you are using a reference to double check your work. The AP handbook might not be the best reference to use if you follow Chicago Style.

For questions on word choice or grammar usage, contact the Content Management team at Conscious Branding.