Spelling: Discrete/discreet

December 13, 2001: Issue 3

SIM STYLE: When do I capitalize plant names in nongardening publications?
For common plant names (rose, daffodil, tulip, etc.), lowercase and set in Roman type. For genus names (Campanula, Lavandula, and other Latin-looking names), capitalize and set in Roman type. Some plants share common/Latin names (hosta, iris, petunia, etc.). In general, treat them as common names in nongardening
publications. Genus and species names used together (such as Prunus pendula) are treated the same way in all publications: Capitalize the genus (the first word), lowercase the species (the second word), and italicize the whole phrase.

For more information, see Plant Names Style section of the Garden section in the SIM stylebook.

GRAMMAR: Discrete meanings
They’re both adjectives, and they sound alike, but “discreet” and “discrete” have distinctly different meanings. Discreet means “modest” or “prudent.” Discrete means “separate.”
correct: Surrounded by grand columns and an expansive deck, the pool area offers a discrete outdoor living space.
correct: Partially shaded from view by a rose-covered trellis, the single French door offers a discreet entry to the master suite.

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