Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

The English language can be terribly confusing, especially when two words sound very similar to one another. Just as it’s easy to confuse queue and cue, it can be just as easy to mistake edition for addition. However, they have entirely different meanings.

Edition refers to a particular version of something. It is oftentimes used in the context of a published text, as would be the case of a “first edition” or a “revised edition” of a book. It can be applied to many other contexts too.

For instance, every episode of Dot Com Pho is titled as “Dot Com Pho: (Fill in the Blank) Edition.” We’ve had everything from “Pay With Your Bum Edition” to “Famous Brian Wong Edition.” If you are referring to a certain version of a published work, then you can usually use the word edition to describe that version.

Addition is also a noun, but its definition is not the same. An addition is a person or thing being added, combined, or appended to another entity (which is usually larger). When someone has a baby, you say that the baby is the newest addition to the family. When you extend your house to have another room, you say that new room is an addition to the house.

In the context of mathematics, addition is the simple arithmetic operation of combining or increasing a quantity. If you are working out the solution to an equation like 2+3, you are doing addition. It is the opposite of subtraction, which is to remove or decrease a quantity. To “add” (two Ds) is very different from “ad” (one D), as the latter is typically short for advertisement.

Do you have a suggestion for a future edition of Grammar 101? Let me know through the comment form below and I’ll be sure to make the addition to my topics queue.