I am a faithful follower of many, many websites. I start every day reading a half dozen newspaper websites. Then there’s NPR, The Onion, and more blogs than I can count. They all bring happiness to my day and information to my brain.

But while I enjoy all of these sites a great deal, most aren’t all that unique. In most cases, if the site went down tomorrow, there are probably 10 other sites providing similar information that could sate my informational appetite (that’s probably not true of The Onion, but you get my drift).

There is, however, one site out there that has no peer…at least not one I’ve found yet. It’s not fancy. In fact, it’s pretty much the antithesis of fancy. But if you love the written word, and take pride in using those words correctly, you should probably make this site the Web-based equivalent of your BFF.

It’s called Common Errors in English Usage, and it’s written by a professor at Washington State University named Paul Brians.

There you can learn the difference between “i.e.” and “e.g.” and myriad other fun usage tips. (If you’re wondering why I didn’t say “a myriad of,” you can find the answer there.)

But as awesome as this site is, it does have two downsides.

First, even the most astute linguists among us are likely to find a few terms they’ve used incorrectly for years. This will lead to a feeling of shame, followed by a realization that for the past ___ years, people have secretly thought you were a dope.

Second, there are many incorrect expressions that have been accepted as correct in common usage. When you say it correctly, be prepared for most folks to assume YOU’RE the one who’s wrong.

Of course, now that I wrote this post, I’m all nervous that folks will find mistakes in it, but I’m willing to take that risk to evangelize this site.

So next time you’re wondering if “NCAA” is an acronym or an initialism, you’ll know just where to go to find out!


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