Posted in Writing

Grammar 101 (#2)

Welcome to the second installment of Grammar 101!


1.) Scaring v. Scarring

There may be only a one-letter difference in spelling, but the meanings are completely different.

“Scaring” is a form of “scared” (or afraid), while “scarring” is a form of “scar” (or some kind of physical or psychological wound). Here are some examples:

  • “Jacob, stop scaring me with your stupid pranks!”
  • A large black dog lived on the property, his sheer size scaring away any possible intruders or pranksters.
  • The scarring was most likely permanent, but she hoped to one day save up enough money to have it all removed.
  • It was a scarring experience–watching my brother being taken away in handcuffs, accused of murdering his girlfriend.

2.) Plague v. Plaque

If you have the “plague”, then you might be a ghost from the 1400’s. If you have a “plaque”, then you’ve won an award for your achievements or you seriously need to visit the dentist. Definitely want one, definitely don’t want the other.

By “award plaque”, I mean something like this:

It’s pronounced “pla-ack”.

Plaque can also mean the buildup of bacteria in your mouth that sticks to your teeth. Why someone decided that these two completely unrelated things should be the same word, I have no idea.

And by “plague”, I mean the epidemic that swept across Europe in the 1400’s and killed off 60% of the population.

Pronounced “pla-agg (like egg, but with an ‘a’)”.

I recently did a post that analyzed the nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosie, a song chronicling what it was like to live through The Black Death.

3.) Laid v. Lay-ed and Lay v. Lying

I was asked this question recently, so I thought I’d add it to the list. I found a very well-written article on Quick and Dirty Tips.com that explains all the different forms of “lay”.

4.) Anyone v. Anybody

After searching the internet, I couldn’t find a definitive answer to this question. Apparently, “anyone” is just a more formal version than “anybody” and allows the sentence to flow a bit better. The same applies to “everyone” and “everybody”.

In other words, “anybody” is a slang-ish version of “anyone”.

5.) Booking v. Brooking

Booking means to reserve something in advance, such as a hotel or entertainment group.

Brooking means to tolerate or allow something.

  • I won’t brook any arguments from you, young lady.
  • Hello, I’d like to book a room at your hotel for two nights.
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