Writer’s Relief proofreaders offer tips to teach you how to properly use these confusing terms: toward, towards, anyway, anyways, we, us, auger, augur, grizzly, grisly, past, passed.
Toward or Towards?
Simply put, Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary states that “toward” and “towards” are both correct and interchangeable, although it lists “towards” as a variant spelling. Mostly likely, this is because “towards” is more often seen in British English spelling. In the United States we gravitate toward spelling shortcuts and usually lop off the “s” on words like towards, backwards, and forwards.
Note: In British English, when backward is used as an adjective, it is normally spelled without the s-ending, as in “Please excuse our cousin’s backward manners. He doesn’t get out much.”
Most people agree that this is a word better spelled without the “s.” It’s a word that has its place in character dialogue—picture a gum-chewing teenage girl or perhaps a garage mechanic—but it’s probably best to leave anyways out of all other prose. It makes a good number of readers cringe.
Personal Pronouns: We and Us
We is a personal pronoun in the subjective (subject) case.
The kids and I made a cake.
We made a cake.
Us is a personal pronoun in the objective (object) case.
The kids baked a cake for Sam and me.
The kids baked a cake for us.
Tricky Words du Jour:
Auger vs Augur
Auger (n) is a tool used for boring holes.
Augur (n) is someone who foretells the future or (v) to foretell, especially from omens.
Grizzly vs Grisly
Grizzly (n) is a bear, while grisly (adj) means gruesome.
Past vs Passed
Past means (adj) ago, (n) time gone by, or (adv) beyond.
Passed is the past tense of the verb “to pass.”
Can’t keep these tricky words straight? Find grammar to be a grisly torment? Want help with your proofreading? Writer’s Relief proofreaders can help!