She excepted/accepted his marriage proposal.
Everybody came to the party accept/except Jake.
How many of you have faced difficulties in using similar sounding words – accept or except , affect or effect, canvas or canvass, dissent or descent or decent – and many more ! Well, each one of us has faced such a situation at some point in our writing venture. Sometimes, the difference is in terms of whether you want a noun or a verb – advice (to be used as a noun) and advise ( to be used as a verb). Sometimes, the difference lies in the usage of a word in a particular context – amicable (focus on friendly relationship between people) and amiable (focus on the person’s individual disposition). Most of the times, the difference can be easily perceived, but often when the meaning is clear, we end up using wrong words because of wrong spellings – an ‘a’ and an ‘e’ can confuse too ( as in stationary (at rest ) or stationery (writing paper and other materials) !!
So here is a list of commonly confusing words we come across in English.
Happy Learning ! 🙂
|Aberrant||Departing from an accepted standard||When the astronomer looked into the telescope, he was shocked by the sight of a star moving in an aberrant path.|
|Abhorrent||Inspiring disgust and loathing; repugnant, loathsome||When the citizens learned about the abhorrent crime, they screamed for justice outside the police station.|
|The abhorrent individual was spurned by his fellow citizens because of his aberrant behavior.|
|Abjure||To give up belief or activity, renounce, relinquish, reject||After the tyrant took over the country, the citizens had to abjure their political beliefs.|
|Adjure||Urge or request (someone) solemnly or earnestly to do something.||He adjured the editor to cease posting silly articles.|
|The minister adjured his wayward congregation to abjure the sins of the flesh.|
|Amoral||Lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something.||Hugh grew up to be an amoral man because his parents never told him the difference between right and wrong.|
|Immoral||Not conforming to or violating the accepted standards of morality.||They considered colonialism to be immoral.|
|Sometimes it seems more shocking to be amoral than to be immoral.|
|Appraise||Assess the value or quality of.||His merits in this respect, however, can only be appraised by the study of his works at first hand.|
|Apprise||Inform or tell (someone).||Each week, the teachers apprise parents of their students’ progress by emailing grade reports.|
|After we have the jeweler appraise the diamond, we will apprise you of its value.|
|Averse||Having a strong dislike of or opposition to something.||As a former CIA director, he is not averse to secrecy.|
|Adverse||Preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable.||Taxes are having an adverse effect on production.|
|I am averse to traveling in such adverse weather conditions.|
|Allude||Suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at.||The teacher asked the students to not allude to any online sources in their research papers.|
|Elude||Escape from or avoid (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skillful or cunning way.||He tried to elude the security men by sneaking through a back door|
|She would often allude to her childhood, when she would elude her brothers in a game of hide-and-seek.|
|Alleviate||Make (suffering, deficiency, or a problem) less severe.||To alleviate hunger in our town, each employee of our company donated five cans of food.|
|Ameliorate||Make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better||Not only did he ameliorate your grades, but he also found a way to enjoy learning.|
|Government agencies tried to alleviate the effects of the depression. They attempted to ameliorate the job-seeking process.|
|Amicable||Friendliness or goodwill between people or group||It was a relatively amicable divorce and at least they remain on speaking terms.|
|Amiable||A person’ friendly disposition||One former roommate described him as amiable and talkative|
|With amiable people like them, it’s not unusual to have an amicable divorce.|
|Afflict||To cause suffering or unhappiness, like what a disease does.(Focus on the sufferer)||It’s also quite likely that he was afflicted with an eating disorder|
|Inflict||To force pain or suffering with focus on the person/thing causing the suffering. More aggressive||Five other men accused of taking part in the fight were convicted of hooliganism and inflicting light bodily injury.|
|I am afflicted with something terrible, so I inflict injuries upon others.|
|Canvas||A strong, coarse unbleached cloth made from hemp, flax, or a similar yarn, used to make items such as sails and tents and as a surface for oil painting.||The painting is oil on canvas.|
|Canvass||Solicit votes from (electors or members).||In each ward, two workers canvassed some 2,000 voters.|
|We wore canvas shoes while we tried to canvass the entire neighborhood.|
Want to learn more of these words?
I found an excellent site for such words. You can learn more such words here
How many of you are of the view that English is not a technical language and that it is just a language of expression ? Well, nobody can deny the fact that all languages are medium of expressing one’s thoughts – English being one of them -but it does not end there. English is a highly technical language – similar to all the 22 officially recognized languages in India and ‘God-knows-how-many‘ across the world. Every language has its set of technicalities and a systematic & structured approach. When you read a well structured article or a novel, you can easily understand the flow of ideas and views of the author, because he has interwoven his thoughts into words in a systematic,coherent manner. His ideas have a well defined path – not just roaming around. Following the same path, the author’s words enter your mind and get deeply engraved in it.
Just like there are various ways to solve a mathematical sum, there are numerous approaches to writing in English. I am not suggesting that only one of them is correct. The aim here is to get one’s ideas deeply engraved in the minds of the reader ( just like aim in maths is to get the answer ). Since, English is also a steadily evolving language, people have the privilege to experiment with their approaches in writing. We can enjoy the best of both worlds ! We do not have to restrict ourselves to rules all the time !
So keep experimenting and exploring the language with your own devised ways ! As for the technical part – here is a list of classes in which words are divided – often confused words ! In the future posts, I will introduce a new section – ‘Most Confused Words’ – a list of words that are most confused in English.
Happy Learning ! 🙂
Homophones – A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning, and may differ in spelling.
Different/Same spellings (homophones with same spellings are homonyms)
We saw a grizzly bear while vacationing in the mountains.
I can’t bear this burden any longer.
My son is presently in the military.
The sun is hidden behind the clouds.
Homonyms – Same words with same spelling and same pronunciation but have different meanings when used in different contexts.
e.g. A bear (the animal) can bear (tolerate) very cold temperatures.
e.g. Wind: I need to wind the alarm clock so I can fly my kite in the early morning gusty wind.
e.g. Desert as in dry climate vs Desert as in leaving alone(they are pronounced differently)
Different meanings on capitalization
e.g. May: In May(month), when spring is almost over, I may(auxiliary verb) pack away my winter clothes.
Let me tell you a well-known trick for remembering idioms with their meanings and usage. If you learn about the origin of the idiom, it will be very easy for you to remember them and use them as and when your writing skills demand ! In the last edition, I shared the origin of ‘Achilles’ heel’ idiom which was interesting and deserving enough to pique your curiosity. This time, I come with a hilarious origin tale – ‘Murphy’s law’. Don’t get deceived– this is not a scientific law ! 😉
This is a humorous adage which means that anything that can go wrong will go wrong !
Origin – Edward A. Murphy, Jr. was one of the engineers on the rocket-sled experiments that were done by the U.S. Air Force in 1949 to test human acceleration tolerances (USAF project MX981). One experiment involved a set of 16 accelerometers mounted to different parts of the subject’s body. There were two ways each sensor could be glued to its mount, and somebody methodically installed all 16 the wrong way around. Murphy then made the original form of his pronouncement.
Murphy’s Original Law – If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.
Murphy’s First Corollary – Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
Murphy’s Second Corollary – It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
For more info, read here
( It was a blast from the past – reminded me of the tough old days when I had to learn the physics laws ! 🙂 )
Today, when we want to remind people that even if someone’s plan is well thought of and properly planned, yet there is scope of an error – we say ‘ Do not forget the Murphy law’ ! 😀
You can find hilarious interpretations of Murphy’s making rounds on the internet ! Do check them out !
Happy learning !
|Shy of||Having less of something that is needed or expected||She was two days shy of her 19th birthday.|
|Go south||To go down, to fall||The economy was growing but the things went south after the recession.|
|One’s goose is cooked||One is finished; one has been found out and is in trouble.||If I get caught, my goose is cooked.|
|To be in the eye of the storm||To be very much involved in an argument or problem that affects a lot of people||International aid agencies were in the eye of the storm when war broke out in the country.|
|Fit the bill||To be suitable for a particular purpose||The city needs a strong leader, and the new mayor just doesn’t fill the bill.|
|Nothing to write home about||Mediocre; not as good as you expected.||I went to that new restaurant last night. It’s nothing to write home about.|
|Blue collar||Relating to manual work or workers, particularly in industry||Blue collar workers in the factories and shipyards were demanding wage increases.|
|White Collar||Relating to the work done or the people who work in an office or other professional environment.||The ratio of white-collar workers to production workers in the manufacturing industry was declining.|
|Scratch the surface||To examine only the superficial aspects of something.||We don’t know how bad the problem is. We’ve only scratched the surface.|
|Bring something/someone to knees||To destroy or defeat someone or something. To reduce to a position of subservience or submission.||The strikes brought the economy to its knees.|
|Of age||Old enough to be considered an adult.||He’s of age now; he can buy his own car.|
|Acid test||A test which will really prove the value, quality, or truth of something||The acid test for the product will be whether people actually buy it.|
|Cut the ground from under someone’s feet||To make someone or their ideas seem less good, especially by doing something before them or better than them ( to weaken someone’s position)||The opposition claimed today’s speech was an attempt by the government to cut the ground from under their feet.|
|Chase one’s tail||To be very busy doing a lot of things, but achieving very little||He’s been chasing his tail all week collecting data but the report is still not ready|
|Think on one’s feet||To think and react quickly, especially in a situation where things are happening very fast||A good sales man must be able to think on his feet to close the deal.|
|To not let grass grow under feet||Don’t delay in getting something done, always on the move||As soon as he finished all the registration formalities, he put the house on sale. He doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.|
|Be waiting in the wings||Waiting for an opportunity to take action, mostly to replace someone else in their job.||The senior manager is going to retire in next 2 months. Two of his juniors who are waiting in the wings will have a fierce competition.|
|Fever pitch||A state of extreme excitement.||The football crowd was at fever pitch.|
|Cut someone to the quick||Hurting someone deeply or offending them.||Joe had worked for 10 years with all his loyalty for his company. He was cut to the quick when his boss held him responsible for the theft.|
|Have one’s heart in the right place||To have good intentions, even if there are bad results.||Good old Tom! His gifts are always tacky, but his heart’s in the right place.|
|Murphy’s law||Anything that can go wrong will go wrong If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.||We may think we’ve covered all the details for the benefit, but remember Murphy’s law|
|Go up in smoke||If a plan or some work goes up in smoke, it is spoiled or wasted||Then his business went bankrupt and 20 years of hard work went up in smoke.|
|On an even keel||Stable, balanced||You should know the syllabus and plan well ahead so that your exam preparation goes on even keel|
|When the dust settles||When things have calmed down||When the dust settles, we can start patching up all the hurt feelings.|
|On the boil||If a situation or feeling is on the boil, it is very strong or active||The corruption scandal is being kept on the boil by a series of new revelations.|
|White elephant||A possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.||The old building is a white elephant of the housing society.|
|Put to sword||If someone/something is put to sword, he/she/it is killed or executed.||The notion that the country’s economy is stable is being put to sword by the current market conditions.|
Well, since the inception of my ‘Build your Vocabulary’ posts, I have been reiterating the fact that English is a diverse and evolved language, comprising of humongous number of words – many of its own and many borrowed from other languages. I had been focusing only on the quantity – but today I wish to talk about the power a word can have, on your mood, on your relationships, on your life and on you. It might be difficult to believe that words have tremendous power to change situations. A word of cheer can lift your mood, a word of trust can enliven your relationship, and a word of wisdom can give a whole new meaning to your life and change you as a person. Similarly, on the darker side, careless choice of words can be hurtful and dangerous. I intend not to scare you but to make you privy to the enormous power words have and encourage you to harness the power in the best interests of all.A marketing company’s tagline captures the essence of my message- Choose Wisely, Live Well !
Happy Learning ! 🙂
|Predilection||Bias, a preference or special liking for something||Your predilection for employees from you native state is pretty evident.|
|Diabolic||Characteristic of the devil, Mephistophelian, wicked, fiendish, malevolent,||The diabolical expression on his face was noticeable after he committed the crime.|
|Syncretic||The combination of different forms of belief or practice||Religious syncretism is at the heart of a diversified world.|
|Pique||A feeling of irritation or resentment resulting from a slight, especially to one’s pride. Arouse interest or curiosity||He was left in a fit of pique when he was denied entry to the prestigious award ceremony. Hopefully the movie trailer will pique the interest of moviegoers and motivate them to buy tickets to see the film.|
|Staunch||very loyal and committed in attitude||Since the two countries are staunch allies it is not surprising they will work together in the war to defeat their shared enemy.|
|Aplomb||Calm self confidence Antonyms : gaucheness||Being an orator par excellence, he can deliver any speech with aplomb.|
|Consonance||Agreement, harmony, concord, accord||Consonance among all the members of a team, leads to a better performance.|
|Partisan||Prejudiced in favor of a particular cause.||Because of your partisan views, you are unwilling to look at other options.|
|Moratorium||A temporary prohibition of an activity.||Potential business owners are angry because the county has passed a moratorium on new business licenses.|
|Clemency||Mercy, lenience||In their letter to the governor, the victim’s family asked him not to give clemency to their son’s murderer.|
|Salubrious||Healthy, pleasant||Vegetables are salubrious foods which provide essential nutrients.|
|indefatigable||Tireless, (of efforts) persisting tirelessly||The director of the homeless shelter is an indefatigable woman who works almost eighteen hours every day.|
|Pastoral||A work of literature portraying an idealized version of country life.||The story, though a pastoral, has an actual connection with the life of agricultural labor.|
|Lingua franca (Italian origin)||A language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.||The official language and de facto lingua franca of this country is the English language.|
|De facto (Latin origin)||In Latin, it means ‘of fact’ Existing or holding a specified position in fact but not necessarily by legal right.||The official language and de facto lingua franca of this country is the English language.|
|Obfuscation||To deliberately make something confusing or difficult to understand||The loan contract was filled with legal words meant to obfuscate trusting borrowers.|
|Intelligentsia||Intellectuals or highly educated people as a group, especially when regarded as possessing culture and political influence.||The intelligentsia of this country has a great influence on the government.|
|Stalemate||a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check.||The government has convened an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss ways to end the stalemate in Parliament.|
|Obduracy||The quality of being obstinate, stubborn or intractable.||Your obduracy on this deal has worsened the matter.|
|Buttress||A source of defense or support. Increase the strength or justification for, reinforce||After the humiliating way his girlfriend dumped him, his friends rallied to his side to act as a buttress to his deflated ego.|
|dissidence||Protest against official policy||The dissident ministers opposed the newly passed bill.|
|Dissension||Disagreement that leads to discord.||This maneuver caused dissension within feminist ranks|
|Cadence||Measure or beat of movement A consistent rhythm or beat||We were happy when our fast-talking professor started to speak in a slow cadence we could understand.|
|Perfidy||The state of being deceitful and untrustworthy.||If you do business with criminals, you should not be shocked when their perfidy comes back to you in the form of a bullet in the back.|
|Cabal||A secret political clique or faction.||The cabal of dissident employees is plotting against the executive group.|
|Cantankerous||Bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative.||He can be a cantankerous old fossil at times. (Here, fossil means a person who is outdated and resistant to change.)|
|Aspersion||An attack on the reputation or the integrity of someone or something, calumny||I don’t think anyone is casting aspersions on you.|
|Maim||Wound or injure so that a part of the body is permanently damaged||Jake is an irresponsible driver who will most likely take a life or maim someone eventually.|
Ahh !! Such diversity of words in one language !!
The extent to which the language has evolved is astonishing and at the same time intriguing. Here I present to you the 7th edition of the vocabulary building tutorial.
Happy Learning and discovering !! 🙂
|Perspicacious||Having a ready insight into and understanding of things.||Many perspicacious investors sold their tech stocks long before the market crashed.|
|Magnum Opus||A work of art, music, or literature that is regarded as the most important or best work that an artist, composer, or writer has produced. Origin : Latin||This film is going to be the magnum opus of the director.|
|Complicity||The fact or condition of being involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong.||They were accused of complicity in an attempt to overthrow the government.|
|Logjam||Situation that seems irresolvable.||The CEO of the company has a power to break any logjam in financial issues.|
|Truculent||Eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant.||The truculent attitude of students during strike was justifiable.|
|Opprobrium||Harsh criticism or censure.||The alleged complicity of the actor in betting brought opprobrium from his fans.|
|Insouciant||Showing a casual lack of concern.||Because Bill is insouciant and not concerned about his retirement, he does not worry about saving money.|
|Budge||Make or cause to make the slightest movement||The opposition is refusing to budge on its stand against the ruling party.|
|Dossier||A collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject.||The government will soon release dossiers containing the evidence of a planned protest against the government by the opposition.|
|Tome||A book, especially a large, heavy, scholarly one.||I prefer reading novels to tomes.|
|Cuckold||(of a man) make (another man) a cuckold by having a sexual relationship with his wife.||In the novel, the protagonist cuckolds his employer.|
|Motif||A dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work.A decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern.||Unrequited love is a frequent motif in the playwright’s works.|
|Duress||Threats, violence, constraints, or other action used to coerce someone into doing something against their will or better judgement.||The judge overturned the case because the defendant’s attorney proved that his client’s confession had been given under duress.|
|Musing||Characterized by reflection or deep thought||She was looking over the sea with sad, musing gaze. She missed him.|
|Beleaguer||Put in a very difficult situation||The board is supporting the beleaguered director.|
|Nemesis||A downfall caused by an inescapable agent. The enemy which constantly causes problems||The whole world witnessed the nemesis of the country whose sole nemesis was poor governance|
|Renege||Go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract.||The government had reneged on its election promises.|
|Heteronormative||Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.||We used to live in a heteronormative culture but things are changing now.|
|Churlishness||Deliberately rude behavior||Although she is a beautiful and talented actress, she has a reputation for being churlish and difficult to get along with.|
|Fractious||Irritable and quarrelsome.||They fight like fractious children.|
|Debunk||Expose the falseness or hollowness of (an idea or belief) to reveal the inaccuracies associated with a belief||The scientist hoped to debunk the genetic theory by completing his own research.|
|Jingoism||Extreme patriotism for one’s country that often shows itself through aggression towards other nations||The dictator’s jingoism caused him to constantly rant about his nation’s superiority while threatening his rivals with war.|
|Tantalize||Torment or tease (someone) with the sight or promise of something that is unobtainable. Excites one’s senses or desires.||Since I am on a diet, I must ignore the tantalizing smells coming from the bakery.|
|Desperado||A desperate or reckless person, especially a criminal.||No one could believe that the decently dressed man was a desperado.|
|Livid||Furiously angry||After sitting in the airport for nine hours, I was livid when I learned my flight would be delayed another six hours.|
|Contestation||The action or process of disputing or arguing||There is a global contestation over the distribution of natural resources.|
|Annulled||Declared invalid ( an official agreement, decision or result )||The elections were annulled by the general amid renewed protests.|
|Profligate||Recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources. Licentious and dissolute||During the mayor’s campaign, he swore to put an end to profligate government spending.|
|Bootleg||Make, distribute, or sell (alcoholic drink or a recording) illegally.||Government has to enforce measures to curtail bootlegging.|
|Hooch||Alcoholic drink, especially inferior or illicit whisky.||Prohibition of liquor in a state will lead to larger number of deaths due to hooch tragedies.|
|Pacifist||A person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable.||She was a committed pacifist all her life.|