7 Nov 2015: Just when you thought you had it right … You take some Flak!

Yep.  Some days, despite my years of working at this writing thing, some days I feel like I’m back in high school English class.  If I were magically transported back to Mrs. Emmenhiser’s class, I’d certainly give her a piece of my mind!

I recently bought a book that has lots of little things we commonly write wrong in it.  It’s a wonderful book … and also a torture device straight from the devil himself. I thought I’d share some of the items I’ve already found useful:

  • Blonde with the e at the end refers to a woman with Blonde hair.
  • Blond with no e refers to a man with blond hair.
  • Confidante with the e at the end refers to a female confidante.
  • Confidant with no e refers to a male confidant.
  • Back yard as one word means the yard at the back of the house. “Let’s go out into the backyard.”
  • Backyard as two words refers to something in the backyard, like “a backyard swimming pool.”


  • A job perq, or a benefit of the job, is spelled perq, not perk.
  • North, south, east and west as directions are generally not capitalized. If they refer to a specific place like North America, then they are capitalized.


  • Faint means dim, dizzy or slight.
  • Feint means a deceptive action, like “the boxed feinted with a left fist.”
  • Further is used in abstract situations like “she couldn’t go any further.”
  • Father is used for measurable distances, like “the house is farther away than then barn.”
  • Flak is criticism or ground based antiaircraft fire. “I took a lot of flak for my suggestions.”
  • Flack is a press agent. “The flack sent out the press release.”

So did any of this surprise you?


Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series, and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

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