English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Monday, December 15, 2014

More Words Frequently Misused


Practical means related to practice; practicable means realistic or can be done.
e.g. You must find out all the practical details of the project before you agree to undertake it
e.g. The proposal is not practicable without the support from the government.


Concept means an idea; precept means a rule or command; precedent means a previous act or action taken as an example.
e.g. Do you understand the concept of love and compassion?
e.g. Example is often better than precept.
e.g. We should not set a bad precedent for your staff.


Instant means right away; instantaneous means events happening at once.
e.g. Do you like instant coffee?
e.g. The air strike and the ground invasion were instantaneous.


Mediate means to act as a peacemaker; meditate means to think deeply.
e.g. The President is trying to mediate between two opposing parties.
e.g. He meditated revenge after he was insulted by his coworkers.


Sedative means calming and soothing; sedentary means accustomed to sitting.
e.g. Taking some sedative medicine may help you get some sleep.
e.g. This is a sedentary job: it requires you to sit in front of the computer for hours.


Material means consisting of matter or substance; maternal means like a mother.
e.g. We live in a material world.
e.g. The senior nurse is providing maternal care to all the children in the hospital.


Precede means come or go before in time or place; ; proceed means to go forward.
e.g. Soaking the beans overnight should precede the cooking.
e.g. We decided to proceed with the plan, even without the funding.

Stephen Lau

Monday, December 8, 2014

Words Frequently Misused

Await / Wait

Await means wait for an event, an occurrence, or a development; it does not require a preposition, such as for.
e.g. We await your decision.
e.g. The people were awaiting the outcome of the election.
e.g. He is waiting for your reply.
e.g. Don't wait for me; just go ahead.
e.g. You can wait here.

Waste / Wastage

Waste means loss due to improper usage; wastage means loss due to decay, leakage or evaporation.
e.g. It is a waste of time to speculate what is going to happen.
e.g. There is much wastage of materials due to the toxic environment.

Look out for / watch for

Look out for and watch for are synonymous.
e.g. Look out for the enemy.
e.g. Watch for the coming election. (BUT "Watch out for the coming election" is incorrect.)

Good / Well

Well is generally used when prefixed to a participle to form a compound adjective.
e.g. The children are well-behaved.
e.g. This is a well-written essay.
e.g. This is a well-designed kitchen.
e.g. He is looking-well. (in good health)
e.g. He is a good-looking guy. (handsome).

Wet / wetted

Wet means to moisten with liquid; wetted refers to dampen something deliberately.
e.g. The rain has wet the soil.
e.g. The smell of roasted turkey has wetted my appetite.
e.g. I wetted the stamp to remove it from the envelop.

Beside / Besides

Beside means close or next to; besides means in addition to.
e.g. Please stand beside me.
e.g. Besides the good salary, the job offers many benefits.

Stephen Lau