Confused words: N to Q

Posted on 23 Jun 202023 Apr 2021Categories British English, language, proofreading, US EnglishTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

During proofreading I frequently come across the same words that have been confused time and again. I have already discussed words beginning A to M, now I will continue with words beginning with the letters N to Q. naught / nought Nought is used in British English for the digit zero and is also used in American English to a lesser extent. Naught is used to mean nothing although it is now somewhat archaic and is only used for a … Continue reading “Confused words: N to Q”

Is the double negative a definite no-no?

Posted on 22 May 202023 Apr 2021Categories grammar, language, writingTags , , , , ,

The Oxford Dictionary of English says a double negative “is a negative statement containing two negative elements (for example he didn’t say nothing)” and “a positive statement in which two negative elements are used to produce the positive force, usually for some rhetorical effect, for example there is not nothing to worry about!” It is rather like in mathematics where multiplying two negative values together make a positive one. Two negative elements can be used to produce a positive one. … Continue reading “Is the double negative a definite no-no?”

Doublespeak

Posted on 29 Apr 202023 Apr 2021Categories euphemisms, language, writingTags , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doublespeak is language that disguises or distorts the meaning of words deliberately and can often involve a degree of ambiguity. Doublespeak may use euphemisms (that is, indirect expressions used in place of words judged too harsh or blunt when referring to something embarrassing or unpleasant – for example, “downsizing” for laying off employees, “cleansing” for bombing). It is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions … Continue reading “Doublespeak”

Confused words: J to M

Posted on 28 Oct 201923 Apr 2021Categories confused words, language, proofreadingTags , , , , , , , , ,

During proofreading I frequently come across the same words that have been confused time and again. I have already discussed words beginning A to I, now I will continue with words beginning with the letters J to M. Jewellery / jewelry Jewellery is the British English spelling, while jewelry is that spelling preferred in US English. Joined together This is a tautology as joined means uniting two or more items or persons. “Together” or “linked” are not required (marriage ceremonies … Continue reading “Confused words: J to M”

New words added to Oxford English Dictionary

Posted on 15 Aug 201923 Apr 2021Categories language, new words, writingTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Oxford English Dictionary is constantly adding new words, often reflecting new cultural phenomena, and some additions may be surprising. These are a few that were added in spring 2019. Many are all too familiar. Adorbs Cute or adorable; inducing great delight. Bestie A person’s best friend. Binge-watch To watch multiple episodes of a TV series in quick succession, often by digital streaming or DVDs. Bookaholic A prolific reader or book buyer. Bro hug A friendly hug between two men. … Continue reading “New words added to Oxford English Dictionary”

Confused words: G to I

Posted on 4 Apr 201923 Apr 2021Categories language, proofreading, writingTags , , , , , , , , , , ,

During proofreading I frequently come across the same words that have been confused time and again. I have already discussed words beginning A to F, now I will continue with words beginning with the letters G to I. Gourmand / gourmet These two words are easily confused, but “gourmand” is someone who overindulges in food and drink (think quantity), while “gourmet” has more positive connotations of someone who has sophisticated tastes in good food and drink (think quality). Grisly / … Continue reading “Confused words: G to I”

Confused words: D to F

Posted on 8 Jan 201925 Apr 2021Categories confused words, language, proofreading, writingTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

During proofreading I frequently come across the same words that have been confused time and again. I have already discussed words beginning A to C, now I will continue with words beginning with the letters D to F. Deduce / deduct To “deduce” something is to come to a logical conclusion or result, such as in “I deduced that he was telling a lie”. In contrast, to “deduct” is to subtract something, such as in “I deducted the service charge … Continue reading “Confused words: D to F”

Polari – still a secret language?

Posted on 5 Dec 201825 Apr 2021Categories language, slangTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I first became aware of Polari from the 1960s BBC radio show Round the Horne starring Kenneth Horne. Camp Polari-speaking characters Julian (Jules) and Sandy were played by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams and popularized the use of Polari. It has fascinated me since then. What is Polari? Polari (or alternatively Parlare, Parlary, Palare, Palarie, Palari; from Italian parlare, “to talk”) is a form of slang language specific to a particular group or profession (cant). It has been used in … Continue reading “Polari – still a secret language?”

Tips for writers: The difference between abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms

Posted on 5 Nov 201825 Apr 2021Categories language, tips for writers, US English, writingTags , , ,

Abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms are ways of shortening a word or phrase but sometimes can be confusing for a novice writer. I will take each one briefly in turn.

Confused words: A to C

Posted on 6 Sep 201825 Apr 2021Categories language, proofreading, writingTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

During proofreading I frequently come across some words that have been confused time and again. This is the first part of an occasional series looking at a few examples and I will start alphabetically with words beginning A to C.