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“At Most” or “At Least”: Understanding Differences in Meaning

Imagine writing a paper for your English class. The requirements state that there can be “at most” 10 pages and “at least” 4 to 7 sources. But what do these phrases mean? “At most” refers to a maximum amount, while “at least” generally refers to a minimum. “At most” means that any number less than …

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Is It Correct to Say Taken Aback: Grammar, Meaning, and Proper Usage

“Taken aback” is a well-known phrase you will hear quite often in the English language. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Is it correct to say, ‘taken aback’?” Also, have you ever considered what it actually means and where it originally came from? It is correct to say “taken aback.” We use the …

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Past Due or Passed Due: Which Is Correct?

Getting the mail can be exciting — until you receive a bill with a glaring red stamp marked, “past due.” But should it read “past due” or “passed due”?  “Past due” is grammatically correct in the case of an overdue bill, deadline, or if someone arrives after the time you expect. “Past” can be an …

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Is “Pro” Positive or Negative?

There are several ways you can express your positive feelings or share your favor for something. In English, you might hear someone say that a person is “pro” something when weighing opposing sides of an argument. When torn between two options, you might also weigh the “pros and cons” of the situation, so is “pro” …

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Has Just Began or Has Just Begun: Past Tense vs. Past Participle

Choosing the correct phrase can be tricky, especially when words are very similar or expressed in different forms. The terms “began” and “begun” are two such words that can be challenging to master, especially when deciding whether you should say “has just begun” or “has just began.” The correct phrase is “has just begun.” When …

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