Grammar Friday

Today’s two grammar tips:

  • You don’t want to write about someone waiting with “baited breath.” The word is “bated,” which comes from “abated,” which means “held.”
  • Use the comparative degree with two and the superlative with three or more. Comparative words almost always end in “er,” and superlative words almost always end is “est.” So, Adam was the younger of two brothers, and Bill was the youngest of four brothers.

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2 Responses to Grammar Friday

  1. Ned Maniscalco says:

    Excellent tips as usual. The bated-abated connection reminds me of another error in usage that I hear frequently, specifically when people say they are “taken back” by something when the correct phrase is “taken aback.”

    And maybe this doesn’t happen so much in Phoenix, but here in the Midwest I have noted an alarming increase in the use of “eminent” in place of “imminent” and vice versa.

    I await your imminent response with bated breath, even though I might be taken aback by it.

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