Grammar Friday

Today’s two grammar tips:

  • When something comes together, does it jell, or does it gel? Here’s how Merriam-Webster Online defines the words:

Merriam-Webster Online:

jell: Date 1869. intransitive verb. 1. to come to the consistency of jelly; congeal , set 2. to take shape and achieve distinctness; become cohesive. transitive verb. to cause to jell

gel: Date 1917. intransitive verb. 1. to change into or take on the form of a gel; set 2. JELL 2 (which means, “Go look at the second definition of jell”).

These definitions are practically the same. Another dictionary, Webster’s New World, indicates that gel is a British usage. This isn’t black and white, but the answer seems to be that if you’re in the U.S., go with jell. In the UK, go with gel.

  • Make sure you know the difference between “accurate” and “precise.” You might say that you’re more than six feet tall, and you’d be accurate. To be precise, however, you should say that you’re 6’2″ tall.

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2 Responses to Grammar Friday

  1. JMattHicks says:

    Surely you didn’t think I forgot, right? 😉

    Jell it is!

  2. Barney says:

    There’s a tension between accuracy and precision. The more precise you are, the less likely you are to be accurate. If you’re actually 6’1, then to say you’re more than 6′ tall would be accurate, while the more precise ‘I’m 6’2″‘ tall would be inaccurate. The more precise a claim is, the harder it is to make it accurate.

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