Way With Words – Part 2

In Way With Words 1, we looked at Which and That, Lay and Lie, Dying and Dyeing, Should of and Should have, i.e. and e.g. That was only the tip of the iceberg, though, and we’re back with five more word tips. How many of these do you know?


Accept and Except

I accept everyone except Jonathan.

That acceptance speech was exceptional.

If you’re welcoming or receiving something, you’re accepting it. If you want to say ‘apart from…’, that’s except. If something is so good that it stands out from the crowd, it’s exceptional. You can also believe something will go well, excepting any problems, as a less wordy version of ‘apart from if there are any problems’.


Further and Farther

Further to my last point, that’s a lot farther than we’re able to travel in a weekend.

Farther is for a physical distance you can point at and measure, whether it’s from London to Paris or from the sofa to the book you just put down. Further is for everything else, like ‘I could go further, but I’ve been talking for quite some time now’.


Then and Than

And then you just turned back? You could’ve gone further than that, then.

Then is for what happened next, or is sometimes added to the end of a sentence to mean ‘in that case’. Than is for comparing, as in more than or less than.


A while and Awhile

It took a while for him to reach the inn, so once he arrived, he rested awhile.

Put simply: A while is a noun phrase, and awhile is an adverb. In the example above, a while is a noun, because it’s a thing being taken. Awhile is an adverb, because it’s describing the way he rested. Another common phrase is ‘once in a while’. If you’re not certain, ask yourself: what other words would go in this gap? You could say that something happens once in a year, a decade, a century… all of which are nouns. ‘Once in awhile’ doesn’t work, because ‘once in…’ isn’t a verb.


Who’s and Whose

Who’s done this? Whose fault is this?

It’s true that apostrophe-S is normally used for possession, as in someone’s thing, but here it’s short for who has. Whose is the right one for whose thing, even though it has no apostrophe – just like there’s no apostrophe in his, hers or yours.


Hopefully, these quick grammar tips will set you on your way to easier, more professional transcription. In our next post, we’ll be looking at councillor and counsellor, led and lead, can not and cannot, compliments and complements, by wrote and by rote. Until then, happy typing!

These grammar tips are all things our UK transcribers have picked up over the years while transcribing a wide range of media. Interested in more? Check out Quick Tips 1Quick Tips 3Quick Tips 4Quick Tips 5 and Quick Tips 6!

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