Tag: words

Contronyms – Words That Are Their Own Opposites

Read this ambiguous sentence: “Because of the agency’s oversight, the corporation’s behavior was sanctioned.”

Does that mean, ‘Because the agency oversaw the company’s behavior, they imposed a penalty for some transgression’ or
Does it mean, ‘Because the agency was inattentive, they overlooked the misbehavior and gave it their approval by default’?

1. Sanction can mean ‘give official permission or approval for (an action)’ or conversely, ‘impose a penalty on.’

2. Oversight is the noun form of two verbs with contrary meanings, “oversee” and “overlook.”

“Oversee,” means ‘supervise’ “Overlook” usually means the opposite: ‘to fail to see or observe; to pass over without noticing; to disregard, ignore.’

3. Dust, is a noun turned into a verb meaning either to add or to remove the thing in question. Only the context will tell you which it is. When you dust are you applying dust or removing it? It depends whether you’re dusting the crops or the furniture.

5. Seed can also go either way. If you seed the lawn you add seeds, but if you seed a tomato you remove them.

6. Stone is another verb to use with caution. You can stone some peaches, but please don’t stone your neighbor (even if he says he likes to get stoned)…

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Panda that eats, shoots, and leaves

The title of the popular grammar book and tongue-in-cheek joke about the panda that eats, shoots and leaves is a classic example of a homograph capable of functioning as verb and a noun with vastly different effects.

Words that are pronounced in the same way but differ in their meanings are called Homophones. In this case, the same word and different meaning of “shoots” changes the complexion of the sentence completely.

If you think that there are too many words in English language, remember that our dictionaries could be bigger; our language has doubled up definitions on many of its words.

On my first trip to the States (from England) I was writing something in pencil and made a mistake. So I asked a friend, right in front of her boyfriend, if she had a rubber I could use…

The comedic affects of double-entendres, puns and malapropisms have been known for centuries. In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, the playwriting legend coined the malapropism’s alternate synonym the “Dogberryism” with the snappy dialogue of Constable Dogberry, who declares in great triumph that he has captured two auspicious men during the night watch …

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Spelling Mistakes that Spell Check Won’t Catch

Everyone is now using computer spell check for finishing her/his write-up.
You can count on spell check to catch glaring errors, yet a computer can’t pick up mistakes if you’ve simply used the wrong word.

You will be embarrassed when certain words that share similar spellings and pronunciations but have different meanings. That’s why it’s important to proofread your writing especially considering so much of our professional communication is now done via email and not the telephone.

It could be Your presentation, Sales proposal, Promotion of a project, Your Application, Resume, or Cover letter.

Pay attention to some of frequently missed by spell check-making a less than ideal impression on your reader.

Affect versus Effect
“Affect” means to influence; “effect” pertains to a result, as in the phrase “cause and effect.”

There is a lot of confusion around this one but here’s the rule:
“Affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun.

Farther versus Further
While both words refer to distance, grammarians distinguish “farther” as physical distance and “further” as metaphorical distance…

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