Wednesdays are now my days to share a writing or editing tip.
Without further ado...
For simplicity, clench is to grasp or hold firmly (clench something in your hand or clench your teeth--see picture to the right) and clinch is to settle decisively (clinch a win).
However, like most things related to our beautiful language, there is an exception:
As I began to further research what I thought would be a simple post, I also found that Dictionary.com listed "a passionate embrace" as a slang definition of clinch. I'm guessing that came from the boxing clinch above. Too funny... that's not very romantic at all.
Furthermore, Grammarist.com stated:
Some dictionaries list clench and clinch as variants of each other, but this is just because the words have been confused so often for so long. Edited publications and careful writers keep them separate.
So, I guess these Wednesday Grammar Tips won't always be simple. When in doubt, I look something up via a trusted source. I like Grammarist and Grammar Girl, and The Chicago Manual of Style is my editing bible.
Most often, I see the mistake of an author saying a character clinched his/her teeth or clinched a spell book. In those cases, it should be clenched.
Is there an editing/grammar issue that's always caused you trouble? If so, share it in the comments so I can feature it on a future post.
Whether you are editing, writing, or reading today, I hope you enjoy every single word!