“You are welcome” or “You are welcomed” or “You welcome”

Understanding these different phrases requires a basic understanding of grammar and some etymology.

The phrase “You are welcome” is the response given when someone thanks us. In this situation, “welcome” is functioning as noun (predicate nominative) and conveys the meaning of “something pleasurable that is invited.”

Basically, when we say “You are welcome” in response to a thank you, we are telling the person that he was a pleasure to help and that he is free to ask for help again.

  • i.e. “Thank you for your help.” / “You are welcome!”

Moving on to the phrase “You are welcomed” we see that the word welcome is in its past participle form. In this situation, it is functioning as an adjective and means that you are greeted or accepted into a location or situation.

  • i.e. When you arrive at the hotel, you are welcomed with a fresh, hot pastry and a cup of coffee.

The last phrase “You welcome” has the word “welcome” acting as an action verb. This conveys the meaning that you are doing the action of welcoming someone (or something) else.

  • i.e. When you welcome a guest into your home, do so with friendliness and grace.

In summary, you must determine if you are replying to someone’s thankfulness, describing the acceptance of something or actually doing the action itself. The confusion occurs when using the subject “you”, but not with other subjects such as I, he or we.

Which spelling is correct: “benefiting” or “benefitting”?

Some words can be spelled in such subtly different ways that it can be hard to remember which way is correct and which is not. One example of this might be the word “benefit” – is it “benefiting” or “benefitting”? The different is a subtle “t”, but, if spelled incorrectly, it could lead to embarrassing and unprofessional mistakes.

What might first be noted while typing “benefiting” and “benefitting” into a word processor is that neither spelling of the word triggers a Spell Check correction. Why might that be? Well, quite frankly, it’s because neither spelling is actually grammatically incorrect. So whether you choose to add a second “t” to “benefit” when creating a gerund, or if you choose to leave it as it is, neither are deemed incorrect in the grammatical world.

Some words that can be correct with more than one spelling are found to be more popular in American English than British English, or vice versa, depending. An example of this might be “aluminum” versus “aluminium”, “color” instead of “colour”, or “center” to spell “centre”. In the case of “benefiting” versus “benefitting”, however, the results are skewed enough to realize the preference is likely more of a personal one than anything. Different people might argue that the spelling relies on where the emphasis is put in the word, but that explanation seems unlikely. Whichever way one chooses to spell the gerund of “benefit”, the important part is to remain consistent – and to remember both are actually acceptable.

What are the connotations of “there” in “hello/hi there”

When greeting a person, one can of course simply say “hello” or “hi”. Sometimes, however, a person may tack on the extra word “there”. This results in the greeting “hello there” or “hi there”. What does adding this word do to the greeting and why do some people choose to say it?

The “there” in “hello there” or “hi there” is one of many examples of emphasis. The greeting of “hello” or “hi” stands perfectly fine on its own, but in combination with “there” it becomes more emphatic. The “there” not only identifies the person being addressed more acutely, but it also reinforces the acknowledgment of that person.

Another purpose adding “there” to a greeting might have is to add syllables. This is another way of emphasizing a greeting. Quick and brief “hi” exclamations may not be as well heard, but a lingering “hi there” or “hello there” adds a simple syllable that carries the sentence a lot more clearly.

One interesting point is that, while it may be common to add “there” to greet someone with “hi there” or “hello there”, it is not a common practice to add it to departing words. For example, one does not say “goodbye there” or “see you later there”. These do not sound correct, likely because of the connotation embedded in the emphatic “there”. When speaking departing words, there is no need for a lingering connotation and no need to identify emphatically the person you were likely just engaged in talking with.

“Doctor’s appointment” or “doctors appointment”?

The question of how and when to use the possessive S versus the plural form in English can be confusing.

In the examples above, we can quickly eliminate the option of “doctors appointment” because in that phrase, the noun “doctor” is acting as an adjective to the word “appointment” and adjectives are never made plural in English.

Think of the phrases “car factory” or “basketball court.” The words “car” and “basketball” are both nouns acting as adjectives to give us more information about the factory and the court. We would never say the “cars factory” or the “basketballs court.” So, we shouldn’t say the “doctors appointment”, either.

We could, however, say “a doctor appointment.” This, though, is almost never used or heard.

The first example given of a “doctor’s appointment” is the correct form of the possessive and used appropriately here. You may be wondering why the possessive would be used here since the appointment seems to belong to you and not to the doctor.

Yet, if you take the time to consider it more carefully, you can see that the appointment does indeed belong to the doctor. When you book an appointment with the doctor, you are taking some time out of his daily schedule. He has appointed a period of time to see you. Thus, the appointment truly belongs to him and as such you should use the possessive S to communicate that using correct grammar.

Just remember that we always use the possessive S to show possession.

“Whether or not” vs. “whether”

A person may be tempted to say “whether or not” in a sentence. It seems natural. “If I go running tomorrow will depend on whether or not it rains” is an example of this use. Yet, is it really necessary to say “or not” in that sentence? Couldn’t you just say “If I go running tomorrow will depend on whether it rains”? The question is whether – or not – the use of “or not” is grammatically necessary – or if it’s simply used for emphasis and is otherwise a redundancy.

The key to understanding how to use expressions with “whether” is to realize “whether” is strictly for use between two choices. One would use “whether” to determine “whether or not” to do one thing versus one other or even to select one thing over another. It cannot be used, technically speaking, with more than two items in a discussion. Similarly, if the expression is being used for a very simple choice – either a yes or no, for example – then having the added words “or not” is not necessary because it is implied. If I want to find out “whether or not” someone will like something, I can also just aim to know “whether” he or she likes it. The “or not” is implicit since, if the person doesn’t like something, clearly the alternative of liking it is already discounted.

In sum, if properly using “whether” for a binary choice, “or not” is likely emphatic but also redundant.

“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

In order to understand the usage of these three words, you must know that one of them is a noun (cancellation) and the other two are verb forms and/or participles (canceled and canceling).


As a past tense form, it means that the action was completed in the past.

  • He canceled the meeting.

As a participle, it can be part of a verb tense or an adjective.

  • He has canceled the meeting.
  • The canceled meeting will be rescheduled.


As part of a continuous verb form, it indicates current or continuing action.

  • He is canceling the meeting as we speak.
  • He was canceling the meeting when his boss called.

As a gerund (a verb acting as a noun), it can serve anywhere a noun can.

  • Canceling a meeting takes a lot of effort. (subject)
  • He avoided canceling the meeting. (direct object)
  • He solved the issue by canceling the meeting. (object of preposition)


This word is only a noun. It can never be a verb or an adjective or a gerund. It describes the act of canceling something. It generally is used as a subject. Using it as a direct object or object of preposition is rarely done.

  • Cancellation will take a long time. (subject)

Knowing which form to use is simply a matter of understanding grammar and the different parts of speech. By taking the time to study that you can greatly improve your ability to use English correctly.

Why does “puce” mean two different colors depending on where you live?

The color puce is sometimes thought of as purple and sometimes green. However, the word is used correctly when it refers to something purple. The use of it to describe a shade of green is a misconception.

Puce is a particular shade of purple, often dull or dusky with underlying brown tones. According to Dictionary.com, puce is “of a dark or brownish purple.” It can also have grayish hints or even be more of a dark red than a purple. However, it does land squarely in the purple family and should not be used to describe something green.

The English language is rich with words for different colors. Clothing companies and makeup manufacturers offer prime examples of how many different ways you can say red, purple, or pink. But sometimes using a more specific word, such as ‘scarlet’ instead of the generic word ‘red’ can be confusing. People do picture colors differently, and thus there can be confusion.

When people use the word ‘puce’ to describe something green, they are usually referring to a yellowish-green shade or a pea green. This particular usage seems to be more widespread in the UK than in the USA. However, this definition of the word is not found in any dictionary. To save confusion, it is best to use the word only to refer to something of a purplish hue.

Words do change meaning over time, and there may come a day when ‘puce’ is defined as green in the dictionary, but today is not that day.

“Thank God” vs “Thanks God”

If you hear “Thank God!”, is that an order? Actually, in English, “Thank God!” is a common phrase that people use to express relief over a situation. For example, if your dog ran away from home and you spent the whole day searching for him, only to return and see him waiting for you at the front door, you might exclaim, “Oh, thank God!”

“Thanks God” on the other hand would have to be properly punctuated to, “Thanks, God.” This would be a legitimate form of gratitude expressed toward God. If you aren’t religious, this wouldn’t make much sense to say in conversation, and even then, it’s much more likely to be something someone would say in private during prayer. Of course, you may also hear it said sarcastically. If you’ve had a bad day, you could look up at the ceiling and mutter, “Thanks, God,” to express your overall distaste with the way things are going, as if the universe is out to get you.

To summarize, “Thank God!” is a common expression that you’ll hear people say in person, on TV and in films. It’s a way to express your relief over the closure of a situation you were worried about. “Thanks, God” can be used either sarcastically or personally in prayer, but otherwise isn’t a correct general statement, as most intend. If you ever need to remember which one is correct, just remember the verb tenses. “Thanks” is the third person singular form of the verb “to thank”, and can also be used as a shortened form of “Thank you”. “Thank” is the imperative form of “to thank” and is used to give commands or, in this case, make an exclamation.

Does “renege” have any racial overtones, or is it otherwise offensive?

The word “renege” comes from Latin, springing from the same root as the word “negate.” It is used to describe when someone goes back on a deal, especially in a legal context. For example, if someone were to promise to provide a service or some sort of product, then refused to produce it or deliver it, then they could be said to have reneged on their promise.

Properly pronounced, “renege” rhymes with “hedge,” or “wedge.” The apparent similarity of part of the word to other common racial slurs is pure coincidence.

There is nothing racist whatsoever about the word “renege.” It is not related to any racial euphemisms, it has never been used as a racial euphemism, and it has no connection whatsoever to the racial politics of modern American life. It is best known as a legal term and more closely related to terms such as “renegotiate.” Unfortunately, in this modern world, it is not difficult for people to misspell words in an attempt to be humorous. Although racist jokes related to this word have not caught on, possibly because they are not particularly funny or clever, that has never stopped crude people before.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that most racial slurs, and indeed, most slurs in general, are simple declarative words with long etymological histories. It is simply impossible to construct the English language in such a way that a word cannot be turned into a slur. Intelligent and educated individuals understand completely that no insult is intended when words are used properly.

How to use “no pun intended”?

At face value, the phrase “no pun intended” is to demonstrate that the preceding words were meant to be sincere, not as a pun. A pun is a form of word play, in which a word or phrase could have two or more meanings. For instance, you could say, “The cake decorator seemed very sweet. No pun intended.” The addition of “no pun intended” shows that you genuinely thought the cake decorator was sweet, as in pleasant and kind, not that you were poking fun at his occupation with your choice of words. In writing, some people are of the opinion that the potentially confusing sentence should just be rewritten, and then the phrase will be unnecessary. Others think it’s innocuous enough as long as it isn’t overused. In speech, it should be used at the speaker’s discretion; sometimes the addition will only draw more attention to the ambiguous wording rather than providing clarification.

The other possibility is that the phrase is being used tongue in cheek, and the sentence in question is indeed an intentional pun. In these situations, the speaker or author is actually drawing extra attention to the pun that was just made. However, it is often not clear if the phrase is being used sincerely or jokingly, especially in writing. Sometimes the phrase is varied when this is the intent, such as “no pun intended?” or simply “pun intended.” Generally these (or no follow up statement at all) are more appropriate if the pun is intentional.