Confused words: N to Q

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 … Continue reading Confused words: N to Q

Is the double negative a definite no-no?

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 … Continue reading Is the double negative a definite no-no?

Doublespeak

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 … Continue reading Doublespeak

Confused words: J to M

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 … Continue reading Confused words: J to M

New words added to Oxford English Dictionary

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 … Continue reading New words added to Oxford English Dictionary

Confused words: G to I

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 … Continue reading Confused words: G to I

Confused words: D to F

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 … Continue reading Confused words: D to F

Polari – still a secret language?

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, … Continue reading Polari – still a secret language?

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

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. Abbreviations Abbreviations are defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “a shortened form of a word or phrase”. These are often formed by omitting the … Continue reading Tips for writers: The difference between abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms

Confused words: A to C

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. Affect / effect “Affect” as a verb means to alter or influence, while “effect” as … Continue reading Confused words: A to C