Commonly Misused Words: Marbled

April 4, 2002: Issue 17

SIM STYLE: Is there a difference between “marbled” and “marbleized”?
Yes and no. “Marbled” and “marbleized” are both past-tense verb forms, but “marbled” is also an adjective. “Marbleize” is only a verb, a synonym of “to marble.”

Because it’s SIM style to use the first listing in Webster’s 10th, the
verb “marble” and the adjective “marbled” are almost always the preferred terms. “To marble” means to cover something in marble or to give it a marblelike look. The adjective “marbled” describes something made of marble, covered with marble, made to look like marble, or given a mottled look in general.
correct: She marbled the cake batter (to give a marblelike look)
correct: The marbled vanity (covered in marble)
incorrect: The marbleized solid-surfacing (the adjective “marbled” would be correct)

GRAMMAR: Is there a difference between “awhile” and “a while”?
Yes. Let the presence of a preposition tip you off. Without one, you probably mean “awhile,” which is an adverb meaning “for a while.” With a preposition,” while” is the object, so “a while” is correct.
incorrect: Why don’t you stay for awhile?
correct: Why don’t you stay awhile? (or for a while)
incorrect I’ll see you in awhile.
correct: I’ll see you in a while.

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