Sorry I have been overwhelmed with work...  BUT!  I have something really cool for you and I hope you forgive me.

I ran across this link and I can't wait to share it with you!  This is a PDF called Elements of Style.  It is a wealth of information, not just another set of rules.


Check it out and see for yourself!

prevail - be widespread; triumph over; gain victory; prevail on: persuade; induce; Ex. Justice has prevailed; Ex. prevail on someone to do something

vantage - position giving an advantage (such as a strategic point); CF. vantagepoint

hurtle - crash; rush; move with great speed; Ex. hurtling runaway train

sinewy - (of meat) tough; strong and firm; muscular; N. sinew: tendon; strong cord connecting a muscle to a bone

irrevocable - unalterable; irreversible; impossible to revoke

plausible - conceivably true; having a show of truth but open to doubt; specious

controvert - oppose with arguments; attempt to refute; contradict; ADJ. controversial; N. controversy

droll - queer and amusing

frustrate - thwart; defeat; prevent from accomplishing a purpose

coy - shy (flirtatiously); showing a (pretended) lack of self-confidence; modest; coquettish; CF. job offer
corrode - destroy or wear away gradually by chemical action (over a long period)

headstrong - willful; stubborn; unyielding; determined to have one's own way; CF. no 'excessive'

flair - talent

irrepressible - unable to be restrained or held back; impossible to hold back

haphazard - random; by chance; happening in an unplanned manner; Ex. haphazard growth of the town

malign - speak evil of; bad-mouth(criticize spitefully); defame; ADJ: harmful; Ex. malign influence

crass - very unrefined; grossly insensible; crude and undiscriminating; Ex. crass behavior

agape - openmouthed

commiserate - feel or express pity or sympathy for

cynical - skeptical or distrustful of human motives; N. cynicism; CF. cynic: person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness

adept - expert at; very skilled

truncate - cut the top off; shorten

vitiate - spoil the effect of; make inoperative; corrupt morally

reciprocate - do or give something in return; repay in kind; give or take mutually; interchange; move backwards and forwards; Ex. reciprocate his invitation by inviting him; N. reciprocity: reciprocal relationship; mutual interchange of advantages between two groups; Ex. reciprocity in trading rights

incident - event; event that causes a crisis

blunt - having a dull edge; abrupt and frank in speech or manner; brusque; V: make or become blunt

figurative - not literal but metaphorical; using a figure(impression) of speech

hardy - (of people or animals) sturdy; robust; (of plants) able to stand inclement(stormy) weather

gust - strong abrupt rush of wind; V. CF. bluster
maelstrom - violent whirlpool; violent or tublent situation; CF. stream

marvel - To become filled with wonder or astonishment; N. One that evokes surprise, admiration, or wonder.

killjoy - grouch; spoilsport; one who intentionally spoils the pleasure of others

rigid - hard and unbending; stiff and unyielding; fixed in behavior or views; strict; rigorous; Ex. rigid rule

diaphanous - sheer; transparent

worldly - engrossed in matters of this earth; not spiritual; of the material world

sacrosanct - invioably sacred; most sacred; inviolable

wary - very cautious; watchful

destitute - extremely poor; lacking means of subsistence; utterly lacking; devoid; Ex. destitute of any experience

amplify - increase in size or effect; expand; broaden or clarify by expanding; intensify; make stronger; Ex. amplify one's remarks with a graph
"Data" and "datum," "phenomena" and "phenomenon," ...

English has a long history of borrowing words from other languages--many of which don't follow standard English rules for pluralization. As a result, there are many English words which are normally plural, but don't look plural because they don't end in the letter S. A partial list:

So for example, you would never properly say "The data shows I'm right" (the correct form is "The data show I'm right"), and you would never properly say "The media is becoming increasingly right-wing" (but rather "The media are becoming increasingly right-wing"). "Media" in this sense means "all the media used to distribute information--eg, newspapers, television, and radio."

Debris is the only English noun with no plural. There are many English words for which the singular and the plural are the same, but in English, you can not speak of a single piece of debris with a singular form of the word. That is, you would say "Space debris is becoming a menace to satellites," but not "Space debris are becoming a menace."

We often speak of being overwhelmed, or talk of how something might overwhelm a computer, but we rarely use whelm as a verb. Yet in the strictest sense, "to whelm" means "to overcome" (particularly with an emotion); it is therefore perfectly proper to say something like "I was whelmed with grief," which means the same thing as saying "I was overwhelmed with grief."

Both fish and fishes are accepted plurals of the word "fish," but the rules differ as to which one is appropriate in different contexts. Generally speaking, if you are talking about any number of dead fish, or any number of live fish of the same species, you use "fish," as in The boat came back to port with a hold full of fish. However, if you are talking about live fish of different species, you can use "fishes," as in Salt-water fishes include several species of sharks, eels, and salmon.

An alumnus is a male graduate of a school; a female graduate is an alumna. When you're talking about a group of graduates, you use alumni if all the graduates are male or if there's a mix of male and female graduates; if all the graduates are female, the proper form is alumnae.

The plural of mouse is mice only if you're talking about rodents. If you're talking about a computer mouse, the accepted plural is mouses.

The Middle English root of "ruthless" is "ruthe," meaning "compassion." It has survived in the Modern English ruthless ("without compassion"), but its opposite, ruthful ("compassionate") is considered archaic and is rarely used.

There are a handful of other modern English words which are typically used only in their negative form as well. For example, the word scathed means "harmed" or "scorched;" we often use unscathed (as in "I made it through Doom 3 unscathed") but rarely use "scathed." Likewise, the word licit means "conforming to law" or "not forbidden;" we often use it in the negative form illicit (as in "an illicit affair" or "an illicit sale") but rarely describe things as "licit."

Usage that's changing

No language ever stands still. The English language is a dynamic, living thing, and that means rules of grammar can and do change over time. Words become archaic; rules of grammar change; even spelling and usage change over time.

There are many areas where English is in transition right now. A few of them are outlined below.

"Nauseated" and "nauseous."

Originally, "nauseated" meant "sick to your stomach;" if the smell of tuna fish turns your stomach, you can say that tuna makes you nauseated. "Nauseous" meant "causing nausea in others." If you are "nauseous," that means you make other people sick. However, these two terms are used interchangeably so often that some references are now beginning to list "nauseated" as a synonym for "nauseous."

"All right" is generally more acceptable than "alright."

"All right" means "okay." Literally, "all is right." It's not one word. This rule is beginning to bend, though; the newest Oxford English Dictionary lists "alright." I get a lot of email, pro and con, on the acceptability of "alright," which is further confused by the fact that some dictionaries and books on English usage still condemn it, while others have begun to accept it.

"Judgment" is generally more acceptable than "judgement."

Traditionally, one who judges another is said to pass judgment. Increasingly, more and more reference texts are listing "judgement" as an acceptable variant to "judgment," though not everyone finds "judgement" acceptable.

I personally prefer "judgement," as I think it's more logically consistent. Other words ending in the letter "e" keep that "e" when adding a -ment suffix (as in "atonement," for example); and the word derives most immediately from the Middle English jugement, so keeping the "e" seems reasonable to me.

"Sneaked," not "snuck," is generally the preferred past tense of "sneak."

In formal or professional writing, it's generally considered more proper to say "the burglar sneaked into the room" than "the burglar snuck into the room." However, this rule is also beginning to bend; my dictionary considers "snuck" an acceptable, but less preferred, past tense form of "sneak."

To me, "snuck" sounds clumsy. While I'll grudgingly accede to the fact that it's a very common usage, that doesn't mean I have to like it!

"Interface" is properly a noun, not a verb.

An interface is a place where two different things come together or interact with each other. A physicist might talk about how light diffracts at an air-water interface, meaning the point where the air meets the water; a computer technician might speak of an interface where a printer is connected to a computer; a computer programmer might speak of the interface that a program presents for interaction with a person.

The first time I heard the word "interface" used as a verb (as in "Let's see if we can get this database server to interface with this client"), I cringed. Then I heard the word "interface" used to refer to interactions between people (as in "Let's see if we can have our sales reps interface with the design department on that issue"). Ugh!

This usage is becoming common enough now that some dictionaries have begun listing "interface" as a verb.

Indeed, modern English in popular usage seems to be moving more and more in the direction of blurring the line between nouns and verbs; I saw a bumper sticker a while ago reading "Stop Noun Verbification: Don't Verb Your Nouns."

Commas in lists

In the past, a list of words or phrases separated by commas would include a comma after each word or phrase in the list: "I like apples, peaches, pears, and bananas." Today, it is becoming increasingly common to omit the comma before the second to last word in the list, and indeed this is the preferred usage according to some style manuals: "I like apples, peaches, pears and bananas."

However, this new usage creates potential ambiguities. As a friend of mine recently pointed out, in a sentence such as "I am an expert at hardware design, software and firmware validation, analysis and reverse engineering of products, and user interfaces," that final comma is essential to making the sentence comprehensible. Under the newer preferred usage, the sentence would read "I am an expert at hardware design, software and firmware validation, analysis and reverse engineering of products and user interfaces." Without the comma, it seems as though "analysis and reverse engineering of products and user interfaces" means "analysis and reverse engineering of products" and "analysis and reverse engineering of user interfaces"--that is, it is not clear that "analysis and reverse engineering" applies only to "products" and does not modify both "products" and "user interfaces."

"Its" and "it's," "you're" and "your," ...

"You're" vs "your," "they're" vs "there" and "their"

If a pronoun has an apostrophe in it, it's a contraction. "You're" means "you are," always. "Your" means "belonging to you."

The same is true of "they're" and "their." "They're" has an apostrophe; it is a contraction. It means "they are." "Their" means "belonging to them." "There" means "somewhere that is not here."

"Its" and "it's"

This is probably the single most common grammar mistake on earth. People get confused about this one because they remember a rule from their childhood days: possessive nouns get an apostrophe. "That is Bob's car." "That is the horse's barn."

Problem is, the word "it" is not a noun. It's a pronoun! Pronouns never, ever, ever get an apostrophe to indicate possession. Think about it: You don't say "mi'ne" or "hi's" or "her's"--and you don't say "your's" or "it's" to indicate possession.

"It's" means "it is" or "it has." If you get confused, take out "it's" and put in "it is." If the sentence makes no sense, don't use the apostrophe.

Sorry I got busy!

equestrian - rider on horseback; ADJ.

exceptionable - objectionable; likely to cause dislike; offensive; CF. unexceptionable: entirely acceptable

feral - (of an animal) not domestic; wild

averse - reluctant; disinclined; not liking or opposed; Ex. averse to cats/doing the house work

succulent - juicy; full of juice or sap; full of richness; N: succulent plant such as a cactus

daub - smear (as with paint); cover with something sticky; Ex. daub one's clothes with mud/paint; N: small bit of sticky substance; Ex. a daub of paint

leonine - like a lion

demerit - fault; bad quality

appease - pacify or soothe; Ex. appease a crying baby; N. appeasement

adulation - flattery; admiration that is more than is necessary or deserved
consummate - complete; V.

impassioned - (of speech) filled with passion; fervent

gossamer - sheer; very light; like cobwebs; N: soft and sheer fabric; cobweb

delirium - mental disorder marked by confusion; uncontrolled excitement; ADJ. delirious

dowry - money or property brought by a bride to her husband at marriage

plaudit - praise; enthusiastic approval; round(succession or series) of applause; ADJ. plauditory; CF. applaud

disfigure - mar the appearance of; spoil

resurrect - revive

arduous - hard; strenuous; Ex. arduous work

divulge - reveal