Criteria vs. criterion

These meet today's criterion.

These meet today’s criterion.

I recently overheard someone say, “We have only one criteria [sic] for our decision.”


Criteria is a plural word. Criterion is the singular.

If you have one rule or guideline for your decision, you usecriterion: “My criterion for today’s outfit was that it be comfortable.”

If you have two ore more rules or guidelines, use criteria: “I have two criteria for today’s outfit: Comfort and being able to hide pizza stains.”

See also: Stadium vs. stadia.

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Facebook Fixes, part 27

1958485_4044481447103_823472004_nI’m ignoring the superstitions here and focusing instead on the grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

A couple of related links:


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Facebook Fixes, part 26


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A quick tutorial


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Homonyms and homophones

I was talking with a friend about writing recently and homonyms came up in the conversation. Later on, as I was thinking about the conversation, I thought, “Oh shoot, I should have used the word homophone.”

But then I started to ponder the differences between homophones and homonyms, as well as homographs, and realized that I needed to do some research, because I was feeling a little iffy about my own personal knowledge.

Homophones are words that sound alike, but are spelled differently. Example: To, too, and two. Also: taut vs. taught, and hoard vs. horde.

Homonyms are words that are spelled the same way, but have different meanings. Example: Hail (to greet) and hail (precipitation).

Homographs are spelled the same way, but have different meanings. Examples: bass (fish) vs. bass (instrument), does (form of the verb to do) vs. does (a group of female deer).

Here’s a chart that shows the differences among the three:

Homonyms._homophones,_homographs(Chart found on Yahoo Images.)

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Hale vs. Hail

One kind of hail. (Yahoo Images)

One kind of hail. (Yahoo Images)

These are easy to mix up, but not difficult to remember once you know.

Hail (1), as a verb: 1) To cheer, salute, or greet. All of Virginia hailed the UVA Men’s basketball team after their ACC tournament win. 2) To call out to. I hailed a cab.

Hail (1), as a noun: 1) A shout to get attention or a called greeting. Norm answered the crowd’s hail when he entered the bar.

Hail (2), as a verb: To pour down hail; to pour down or shower like hail.

Hail (2), as a noun: Precipitation in the form of pellets or balls of ice.

Then there’s hale:

Hale, as an adjective: Healthy, robust, vigorous. He was a hale and hearty man.

Hale, as a verb: To compel (someone) to go; to haul; to pull. The sheriff haled the man into court.





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If only


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