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

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