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Noelle Rebain

High Quality or High-Quality: Understanding When to Use a Hyphen

Some would say hyphens are going the way of dinosaurs, disappearing in favor of compound words. But they are not extinct just yet, so knowing when to use one and when to skip it is important.     The difference between “high-quality” and “high quality” is determined by the location of the noun that the phrase should …

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Beneficial for or Beneficial to: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve recently watched a commercial or two in the US, you’ve likely heard that a promoted product is beneficial for your skin, your health, or perhaps your waning energy levels – but is it beneficial “to,” or is it beneficial “for”?   The difference between “beneficial to” and “beneficial for” lies in the preposition that …

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What Is the Difference Between Years and Year’s?

We often hear the phrase, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” While many of us may be excited to see the end of the year, we often don’t think about the subtle difference between “years” and “year’s.” “Years” is the plural form of year, indicating multiple years. We use “year’s,” with an added apostrophe, to indicate …

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Sweetie or Sweety: Determining the Correct Spelling and Meaning

English spellings can quickly become confusing, especially when certain words can be spelled more than one way. Unfortunately, there are not always grammatical rules that can easily be memorized and applied.   The adjective “sweet” refers to something sweet-tasting, but it can also be written as a noun — an affectionate term of endearment spelled “sweetie” …

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Momma or Mama: Which Spelling is Correct?

In nearly every language, we find shortened nicknames for parents, siblings, or other family members. And almost universally, we find that children often refer to their mothers as “mama,” “mamma,” or “momma,” but which one is correct?   Mama is the infantile/childish form of mother, while Momma is the colloquial form of mother. There is no …

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Complement or Supplement: What’s the Difference

There are quite a few words that seem similar in meaning in English but that we cannot use interchangeably. Two examples are the words “complement” and “supplement.” Let’s try to understand the difference. Complement means to add something different that makes another item or idea better or goes well with it. Think of it completing the …

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