I decided I better check it out. Readers deserve the best quality read we can offer.
The answer is…makeup. But only when it’s being used as synonymous noun. I need to put on my makeup. When it’s a verb, it’s make up. I need to make up a test. And to make it even more complicated, as an adjective, it’s make-up. If you were sick you will need to take a make-up test.
A similar rule applies with work out. As a noun, it’s workout. That was a great workout. As a verb, it’s separate. I work out before lunch.
Pick up. It’s separated as a verb: Pick up the truck from the garage. As an adjective, it’s combined: I drive a pickup truck. Or…The bar is a great pickup spot..
Get away. Adjective: I need a getaway car. Noun: I could use a beach getaway. As a verb, it’s two words. Get away from the cookies.
Every day. Everyday is the adjective form. These are my everyday clothes. As opposed to: These are the clothes I wear every day. A good rule of thumb…if you can replace every with each, separate the words.
A lot. Alot is not a word, unless you are intending to divvy up portions, then you’re still spelling it wrong. Allot each player Gatorade. Vs. A lot of players drink Gatorade.
All right vs. alright. Although alright is gaining ground, the rules for when it’s acceptable can be complicated, whereas all right is always all right. Being the sort of gal who likes to do the easy thing, I’m a fan of all right.
Lastly, here are a few problem words to keep in mind:
Ice cream. Remember, it’s a treat so special, it deserves two words.
High school. Like the cliques of that era, it’s never combined.
Heartache. Unless you’re describing active angina, it’s one word.
That's my list of trouble words. How about you? What words give you pause while writing?
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