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A to X Writing Advice, Courtesy of Copy Chief Benjamin Dreyer

A to X Writing Advice, Courtesy of Copy Chief Benjamin Dreyer
There’s no such word as moreso.Mucus is a noun; mucous is an adjective.Nerve-racking, not -wracking; racked with guilt, not wracked with guilt.One buys a newspaper at a newsstand, not a newstand. An ordinance is a law; ordnance is ammo.Palette has to do with color; palate has to do with taste; a pallet is, among other things, something you sleep on. Eugene Pallette was a character actor; he’s particularly good in the 1943 film Heaven Can Wait.Nounwise, a premier is a diplomat; a premiere is something one attends. “Premier” is also, of course, an adjective denoting quality.That which the English call paraffin (as in “paraffin stove”), we Americans call kerosene. Copy editors should keep an eye open for this in mss. by British authors and query it. The term paraffin should generally be reserved for the waxy, oily stuff we associate with candles.Prophecy is a noun; prophesy is a verb.Per Web 11, it’s restroom.The Sibyl is a seeress; Sybil is Basil Fawlty’s wife.

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