Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today's Writing Tip Is on Convince and Persuade

The words convince and persuade may sound so similar that we think they're interchangeable, but they're not. They are not exact synonyms, despite what says!

According to The Chicago Manual of Style, persuade is related to actions and often takes the verb “to” before it. If I want to go to a drama movie, but you only like comedies, I have to persuade you to go with me.

Convince is related to ideas. Let's say that you don't know who to support in the Republican primary, so you watch the debates. You come away convinced that none of the contenders represents you. Note that convince is not preceded by the verb “to.”

Check out more grammar and writing tips in my book Be Your Own Editor.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Today's Writing Tip Is When to Use Cultured versus Cultural

Cultured usually means refined or enlightened, unless we are referring to cultured yogurt. Cultural refers to someone with an artistic nature, or different ethnic groups.

Thus, when we're talking about multiculturalism, we can say, "Ottawa has a great deal of cultural diversity." And when we're talking about someone who loves opera, ballet, and musicals, we can say he or she is very cultured. We don't want to say that a city is cultured unless we mean that it has fine arts, dining, and music, but don't use the term cultured to refer to different ethnicities. That is a common mistake, but I know that you are just too cultured to make it!

Learn more about word usage in my third book, Be Your Own Editor. When should you use between or among, further and farther, or complement and compliment? Find out in BYOE, available on in print and now a bestseller on Kindle. (

Sigrid Macdonald

Free Search Engine Optimization