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John McIntyre

So you want to be a writer | COMMENTARY

So you want to write about interior décor …

learn the difference between mantel and mantle.

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So you want to write about performances …

learn the difference between premiere and premier.

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So you want to write about elections …

learn the difference between canvass and canvas.

So you want to write about polling …

learn the difference between percentage point and percent.

(While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to calculate and check percentages.)

So you want to write about people who obsessively accumulate objects …

learn the difference between hoard and horde.

So you want to write about publishing …

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learn the difference between foreword and forward.

So you want to write about luxury goods …

learn the difference between cachet and cache.

(And while you’re at it, skip calling anything prestigious.)

So you want to write about singing …

learn the difference between vocal cord and chord.

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So you want to write about the Marines …

learn the difference between corps and core — and, God save us all, corpse.

So you want to write about pollen allergies …

learn the difference between mucus and mucous.

(You’ll need both.)

So you want to write about churches …

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learn the difference between altar and alter.

So you want to write about English grammar and usage …

You might want to think twice about that.


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