Hot Pepper Communications http://www.hotpepper.ca Changing the world one word at a time Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:24:34 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 44162795 Difference between whole and entire http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/06/21/difference-between-whole-and-entire/ http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/06/21/difference-between-whole-and-entire/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:24:34 +0000 http://www.hotpepper.ca/?p=25779 This is part of the difference between series. If you use the word whole in a sentence (such as, “I counted the whole crowd.”), chances are Microsoft Word will suggest that you change it for entire. There isn’t much difference between whole and entire. In fact, several dictionaries have whole and entire as synonyms of each other—that’s how close they are […]

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This is part of the difference between series.

If you use the word whole in a sentence (such as, “I counted the whole crowd.”), chances are Microsoft Word will suggest that you change it for entire.

There isn’t much difference between whole and entire. In fact, several dictionaries have whole and entire as synonyms of each other—that’s how close they are in definition. What differences there are between the two are subtle.

For example, consider these two quotes by Merriam Webster:

When referring to the idea of not lacking:

Whole suggests a completeness or perfection that can be sought, gained, or regained. Entire implies perfection deriving from integrity, soundness, or completeness of a thing.

  • Now that I’m back from my week-long vacation, I feel whole again.
  • That teen prodigy can play the entire Beethoven corpus.

When referring to the idea of including everything or everyone without exception:

Whole implies that nothing has been omitted, ignored, abated, or taken away. Entire may suggest a state of completeness or perfection to which nothing can be added.

  • I read the entire Harry Potter series.
  • The entire population of Lethbridge was wiped out by the asteroid.

The differences don’t seem all that pronounced, do they? Well, I did tell you that the differences were subtle. While the differences do exist, I think they are too subtle for everyday conversation.

Consider the usage of both whole and entire as search terms (blue and red, respectively) over the last 13 years:

It seems natural usage increasingly favours whole over entire. Even though entire seems to be on the rise, it doesn’t look like it will catch up with whole any time soon. In fact, given how close the two are in meaning and the increase of whole in practical usage, we might see the extinction of entire from our everyday language, being reserved for technical uses (such as, botanical entire, meaning a leaf without an indented edge, or farming entire, meaning uncastrated).

Which words do you confuse? Let me know in the comments below.

Interested in more grammar tips like this? Sign up for our free monthly newsletter.

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6 tricks to reduce word count in your ridiculously long essay http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/06/14/6-ways-to-reduce-word-count-in-your-ridiculously-long-essay/ http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/06/14/6-ways-to-reduce-word-count-in-your-ridiculously-long-essay/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:02:19 +0000 http://www.hotpepper.ca/?p=3793 I remember my communications teacher in college once had us write a 500-word assignment. I don’t remember the topic, but I remember how difficult it was to limit it to just 500 words. After my classmates and I had each finished the assignment, she gave us our next one: cut the writing in half. That’s right, […]

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I remember my communications teacher in college once had us write a 500-word assignment. I don’t remember the topic, but I remember how difficult it was to limit it to just 500 words.

After my classmates and I had each finished the assignment, she gave us our next one: cut the writing in half.

That’s right, I had to take a document I thought was already too short and find a way to make it shorter. It was a frustrating experience, but one I am now grateful for. The lessons I learned in that assignment follow me today.

Here are 6 tricks I’ve discovered since then that help me reduce my word count when writing.

1. Use contractions

You can’t use this all the time (legal documents, academic writing, research, etc), but for most applications, contractions help reduce total word count. Plus, they have the added benefit of making your writing seem approachable.

Examples:

Wordy Reduced
Cannot Can’t
Will not Won’t
You would You’d
It will It’ll

2. Eliminate redundant wording

Once you’re on a roll, it can be easy for extra words to sneak into your writing. Sometimes another word in the sentence already says the same thing. Other times, the structure of the sentence already implies the redundant word; this is especially true when writing in the present tense.

Examples:

Wordy Reduced
Currently, we live downtown. We live downtown.
Absolutely necessary Necessary
Every single one of them Each of them
Period of time Period

3. Remove prepositions

Especially “of”. We love to make things sound smarter by including too many prepositions. Cut back the unnecessary ones.

Examples:

Wordy Reduced
The location of the business is next to the street with a lot of traffic. The business is next to the busy street.
The shirt of the boy was worn with pride. The boy proudly wore his shirt.
A number of oranges Several oranges
He handed the cheque to me. He handed me the cheque.

4. Replace phrases with single words

Sometimes what we think we need several words for can actually be described in a single word.

Examples:

Wordy Reduced
Find out Discover
Come up with Provide
Put up with Endure
Look in on Visit

5. Switch passive voice for active voice

I see the use of passive voice so frequently, especially in academia. It’s a cop out and discourages the writer from taking responsibility for what’s happening in the writing. It has its place occasionally, but most of the time, the active voice does just fine.

Examples:

Wordy Reduced
The research will be finalized and presented. I will finalize and present the research.
The apple was eaten by the girl. The girl ate the apple.
Winter was hated by everyone known by me. Everyone I know hated winter.
The lawn used to be mowed by my neighbour. My neighbour used to mow my lawn.

6. Avoid using “very” or “really”

We often use these words for emphasis, but sometimes single words exist that mean the same thing.

Examples:

Wordy Reduced
Very hungry Famished
Really tall Towering
Very tired Exhausted
Really happy Elated

Show no mercy when you use these tips to reduce your word count. Soon, you’ll be writing text that’s faster and easier to read.

What tricks do you use to reduce your word count?

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How to tag someone (friends and strangers) on Facebook http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/06/07/how-to-tag-someone-friends-and-strangers-on-facebook/ http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/06/07/how-to-tag-someone-friends-and-strangers-on-facebook/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 13:36:18 +0000 http://www.hotpepper.ca/?p=25762 One of the things I love about Facebook is being able to tag friends. The Tag Friends button You might already be familiar with the tagging feature built into the status update box: When you click on “Tag Friends”, a bar appears with the word “With” in it: Just start typing someone’s name in that bar, […]

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One of the things I love about Facebook is being able to tag friends.

The Tag Friends button

You might already be familiar with the tagging feature built into the status update box:

When you click on “Tag Friends”, a bar appears with the word “With” in it:

Just start typing someone’s name in that bar, and a menu appears with a list of people whose names contain the letter combinations you’re entering. For example, if I type “Mary”, several friends with the name Mary appear (truncated for privacy):

Once you select the person’s name, this is how it looks:

And of course, you can tag more than one person.

This method is great for announcements, reminiscing, joint activities, or other occasions when you want to include someone but you don’t necessarily need to include them by name in the actual text you write.

Tagging them directly in the post.

However, you don’t need to always use the “Tag Friends” button. Facebook allows you to tag just by typing the person’s name in the text. You can even just use their first name by pressing the backspace once their name is tagged, like this:

Tagging them in comments

But that is for status updates. You can tag people in comments, too. Just do the same thing: type their name in the comment, and you should be able to tag them.

But what if you want to tag someone who isn’t your friend, say someone you want to reply to in a thread on the Facebook page of a local news story?

Well, you do it the way you used to have to use to tag anyone on Facebook (and how you still do it on Twitter): with the @ symbol.

In the above image, I’m tagging one of our local city councillors, who I don’t have added as a Facebook friend. Just type the @ symbol, and start typing their name. A menu will appear, similar to the examples above, and you can select the person you want.

Tagging people is useful for a couple of reasons: the person you tag receives a notification of the tag, and on a public post, their friends may see your comment, too.

Now, there is a bit of a disclaimer. If someone has pretty strict privacy settings, you may not be able to tag them. Don’t worry too much if you can’t tag them; it may not be because you’re doing it wrong.

Do you have any tricks for tagging people on Facebook? Let me know in the comments below.

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6 ways I quadrupled traffic to my blog http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/05/31/6-ways-quadrupled-traffic-blog/ http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/05/31/6-ways-quadrupled-traffic-blog/#respond Wed, 31 May 2017 13:37:30 +0000 http://www.hotpepper.ca/?p=25758 This December will mark 17 years since I started blogging. I started with the now defunct site Themestream, and shortly after it went down, I moved to Blogger. Actually, in a sense, I’ve been blogging longer than that. For 3 years prior, I was writing articles for a weekly ezine. Anyhow, I was recently reviewing the […]

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This December will mark 17 years since I started blogging. I started with the now defunct site Themestream, and shortly after it went down, I moved to Blogger. Actually, in a sense, I’ve been blogging longer than that. For 3 years prior, I was writing articles for a weekly ezine.

Anyhow, I was recently reviewing the analytics of this blog, and I noticed the stats for the monthly pageviews:

This blog has gone from about 1,400 monthly pageviews in December 2014 to over 6,500 pageviews this month. That’s an increase over over 400%. And that’s just during the last 2.5 years. If we go back to when I resurrected my blog in May 2013, the monthly pageviews were around 600.

Now, compared to some of the more popular blogs on writing or social media, 6,500 monthly pageviews may not seem much. Keep in mind though that I have never once paid for an ad to my blog. It’s all been organic: just me pumping out 1 or 2 posts every week.

So, how did I do it? Well, over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks for driving traffic to your blog, and I wanted to share them with you. Here are 6 big tips for boosting traffic to your blog:

1. Blog regularly

One key to building a community around your blog is writing regularly. For this blog, I write twice a week, but on my most popular blog, I’d been writing several times a day at one point.

Try to stick to a schedule. As your visitors become regular, they’ll notice your schedule and may visit your blog on publishing days to see what you wrote.

2. Make it compelling

What you write should make people think, answer their questions, or provoke them to comment. Compelling content engages people and helps them find value in it.

Be bold. Take a stand. Write with authority. And don’t be afraid of controversy.

3. Link to other blogs

Find out who the thought leaders are in your industry and link to their blog posts. You could write a list post linking to several related blogs on a particular topic, or write about a topic and include thoughts from other bloggers on it.

These bloggers will notice your link in their trackbacks and in their analytics and may visit your site to see what you have to say. They may even link back to you in a future post if what you have to say is compelling.

4. Comment on other blogs

Commenting on other blogs shows others that you’re willing to engage with them. It also shows them that you have something to say, and it’s an extension of what you write on your blog. Plus, most blogging platforms link your name to your own blog, so if people like your comments, they may click through to your blog to see what else you’ve written.

5. Share on social media

Each time you write a blog post, share it on your social media accounts. If people like what they see, they’ll comment on it, like it, and reshare it, helping to drive traffic to your site.

6. Publish a newsletter

Another way to get more visitors is to publish a regular newsletter. Ask people to sign up in your sidebar, on your social media, and at the end of your posts. Use your blog posts as content for your newsletter. Because your email subscribers may not visit your site often, a regular newsletter serves as a reminder that you’re still pumping out awesome content.

Some of these tips take some extra work, but given some time (remember, it’s taken me 4 years just to get to this point), you’ll start to see real results.

Have you learned your own tricks for driving blog traffic? Let me know in the comments below.

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How to enter the degree symbol on an iPhone http://www.hotpepper.ca/blog/2017/05/24/how-to-enter-the-degree-symbol-on-an-iphone/ Wed, 24 May 2017 13:42:21 +0000 http://www.hotpepper.ca/?p=25751 The post How to enter the degree symbol on an iPhone appeared first on Hot Pepper Communications.

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The weather is heating up, and it won’t be long before everyone is talking about how hot it is where they live. As they do, many social media posts are going to be missing something.

The degree symbol.

People are going to write things like, “It’s 26 out” or “It’s 26C out”.

The proper way to write temperature would be “It’s 26º C out.” But how do you create the degree symbol? It’s not on the keyboard. I already have articles I’ve written for writing the degree symbol on the Mac and PC, as well as how to make the degree symbol on the Chromebook.

But what about on an iPhone (or any smart phone)?

Well, unlike Macs, PCs, or Chromebooks, you can’t do a key combination on an iPhone. What you can do, however, is access the extra characters by holding down certain keys. For example, look what happens when we hold down the 0 key on an iPhone:

The 0 key expands to offer you not only the 0, but a degree symbol as well. While holding down the 0 key, slide your finger to the degree symbol, then let go. You’ve inserted your first degree symbol using an iPhone.

While you’re at it, check out some of the other keys to see what extra symbols you have on your iPhone. Let us know in the comments below if you found this tip useful.

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