Word Count

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Don't Confuse Astrologers and Astronomers!

Here's the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. Mignon points out a common confusion that might leave you star-crossed.

What's the quickest way to irritate astronomers? Call them astrologers.

Astronomers are scientists who study space and its bodies such as planets, stars and asteroids. An astronomer might say, "Get up a few hours before dawn to see the Delta Aquarid meteor showers in late July and early August."

Astrologers make predictions about human activities and proclivities based on the positions and movements of celestial bodies. An astrologer might say, "You're an Aquarius and she's a Libra; you belong together!"

For more commonly confused words, check out Vocabulary.com's "Choose Your Words" collection.

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Mignon Fogarty is better known as Grammar Girl. She is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network, author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, and the creator of the iOS game Grammar Pop. She is also the Donald W. Reynolds Chair of Media Entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism and Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Click here to read more articles by Mignon Fogarty.