Since I started writing about these words, more and more are coming to my notice. I suppose it’s because I’m now looking out for them. Some can be quite amusing, like in a previous blog when I talked about vicious and viscous.
A pupil wanted to say that a liquid became more VISCOUS, i.e. thicker and less runny. In fact, he said it became more VICIOUS.
Here are this week’s words.
Advise is a verb. It is what you do. You advise someone.
e.g. I would advise you not to put all your money in the same shares.
Advice is a noun. It is what you give.
e.g. My advice to you is not to put all your money in the same shares.
Comprise means to include.
e.g. The house comprised five bedrooms.
Compose means to make up.
e.g The hamper was composed of a bottle of wine, a ham, a box of dates and a goose.
Lie is to recline.
e.g. My back hurts when I lie down.
Lay is to put an object down.
e.g. The man came to lay the carpet in the hall, or Lay the book on that table, please.
Defective means that something does not work.
e.g. When I tried the new camera I had bought, I found it to be defective.
Deficient means that something is missing.
e.g. When the doctor analysed the results of the girl’s blood test he found she was deficient in iron.
Oh, here is one that is always got wrong.
Hung refers to an object.
e.g. He hung his coat in the cloakroom.
Hanged refers to a person or other living thing.
e.g. One argument against capital punishment is that if a person is found to be innocent after they have been hanged it’s too late to do anything about it.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.