Tag Archives: grammar

7 more commonly confused words

 

 

wolf1

I first of all apologise to everyone for being late with my blog this week. You can blame NaNo in part, but also I had to go out Monday and yesterday.

Anyway, here are another 7 commonly confused words.

PRACTICE/PRACTISE.

Practice. This is a verb. It is what you do when learning to play the piano. Your teacher would say:

‘You must PRACTICE for half an hour every day’

Practise. This is a noun. It is where the doctor or lawyer practices his/her calling.

e.g.  I hear there is a new doctors’ PRACTISE opening in the town.

CONFIDENT/CONFIDANT

Confident. When you are CONFIDENT you are sure of yourself.

e.g. I am confident that I will pass my driving test this time.

Confidant. This is someone you confide in.

e.g. I have always told my best friend my secrets. She is my CONFIDANT.

UNCONSCIOUS/SUBCONSCIOUS
The second of these two words is almost always substituted by unconscious. It really irritates me!

Unconscious. This is what happens when you get a blow to the head.

e.g. When the piano fell from the second floor, the man walking beneath was knocked UNCONSCIOUS

Subconscious. This is a word used in psychology. It means the part of the mind that you are unaware of, yet it still acts to bear on your actions.

e.g. The doctor said that it was Mary’s SUBCONSCIOUS that was making her afraid of snakes.

UNIQUE/RARE

Unique. When something is unique, there is only one of it. It does not mean very uncommon Thus you cannot have grades of uniqueness.

e.g. I am told that this is the last dodo on Earth. It is UNIQUE.

Rare. Something that is uncommon. You can have gradations of rareness.

e.g. The hedgehog is becoming increasingly RARE in the United Kingdom. There numbers are decreasing rapidly.

THEORY/THEOREM

This one I came across in a book I was reading only the other day. It was not one I would have thought to put in otherwise.

Theory. This is an idea that explains something. It is usually based on some evidence.

e.g. Isaac Newton saw an apple fall from a tree and reasoned out the THEORY of gravity.

Theorem. This is a mathematical term whereby a proposition is shown to be true by a chain of logical reasoning, based on accepted truths.

e.g. Pythagoras managed to prove the THEOREM that now bears his name.

LIBEL/SCANDAL

Libel. This is bringing someone’s reputation into disrepute by something you’ve written.

e.g. The journalist was accused of LIBEL by the man she had reported to be the thief.

Scandal. The gossips in the village were accused of spreading scandal about the vicar and his housekeeper.

VISCOUS/VICIOUS

This one I saw in a thread I was following the other day. It was another that I hadn’t though of before.

Viscous. A thick, slow-flowing liquid.

e.g. In order to get syrup to drop easily from the spoon you need to make it less VISCOUS. You can do this by heating it up by dipping the spoon into hot water before getting the syrup.   (This is quite a good tip.)

Vicious. It actually means addicted  to vice, but nowadays it has come to mean more along the lines of vicious.

e.g. The growling of the dog behind  the door sounded vicious.

Those are this week’s commonly confused words. I hope you enjoyed them. If you did, please leave a comment, and if you didn’t, please leave a comment too explaining what you thought was wrong with them.

5 more commonly confused words.

gloriosarothchildiana

One of my paintings.

Gloriana Rothchildiana

Tuesday again. It’s the last Tuesday of the month and so here are some more commonly confused words. Some of these words are confusions of meaning and some are confusions of spelling, while some are both.

I know I said I’d have a particular plan for when I was going to post what, but I’ve forgotten it! How stupid can you get? I’ve even forgotten where I put the note that I wrote to myself. I can remember that the first Tuesday was an extract from The Wolf Pack and the third some of my other writing or that of another writer I like. (This includes my Mum’s poems, of course.) Now the third Tuesday seems to be grammar.

Anyway, here it is.

Here are a few more words that are often confused.

Council/counsel

‘Council’ is some sort of ruling body, as in the local town council or the General Medical Council.
e.g. The Council passed a new by-law to prevent dog fouling in the local parks.

‘Counsel’ is to give advice, or to act as a lawyer.
e.g. He gave me some good counsel about my problems.

Imply/Infer

‘Imply’ is what the speaker hints at without actually saying it in so many words.
e.g. Are you implying that Jack was the thief?

‘Infer’ is that which is deduced from the implication.
e.g. From what you say, I infer that you think Jack was the thief.

Literal/Virtual

‘Literal’ means that it actually happened, or that something is ACTUALLY the thing referred to.
e.g. The bird flew past me, its wings literally brushing my face.

‘Virtual’ means that it was AS IF the thing were happening.
e.g. The footballer virtually flew down the wing before putting the ball in the back of the net.
(the winger literally flying would be an awesome sight, as would, as we sometimes here when a player is playing well, ‘He’s literally on fire this afternoon.’ Poor lad!)

Convex/Concave

‘Convex’ is protruding outwards. A magnifying glass has a convex lens, one that is thicker in the centre than at the edges.
e.g. There was a convex protuberance on the wall that had to be sorted out before Harry could paint it.

‘Concave’ is going inwards, like a cave. Glasses for short sight are concave. They are thinner in the middle than on the outside.
e.g. Breathe out so that your stomach is concave.

There/Their

‘There’ is denoting a place.
e.g. Put the parcel down over there please.

‘Their’ is donating ownership. Something that belongs to them.
e.g. Is that their car in the car park?