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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

These Words May Confuse You


Common / Commonplace

Common: shared or used by many; commonplace: ordinary and not very interesting.

e.g. Smoking in an enclosed area is common nuisance.
e.g. To be healthy and wealthy is a common New Year’s resolution.
e.g. Running may be a commonplace sport for many.

Approve / Approve of

Approve means pgive consent to; approve of means think well of.
e.g. Your proposal will not be approved by the committee.
e.g. We approve of our daughter’s marriage to that promising young man.

A few / Few

A few: not many with a more positive meaning; few: not many with a more negative meaning.

e.g. A few people might ask for your help (some, not too many).
e.g. We were disappointed that only few people showed up (hardly any).

Defuse / Diffuse

Defusedecrease the danger, such as deactivate a bomb; diffusespread over a wide area.

e.g. It is difficult to defuse the conflicts in the Middle East.
e.g. Once you open the bottle of fragrant herbs, their scents will diffuse.

Read / Peruse
Readlook at and understand; peruseread thoroughly.
e.g. Don’t just read through the document; you have to peruse it to see if there is any hidden code.

Masterful / Masterly

Masterfuldetermined, strong-willed, like a master; masterly means having good skills.
e.g. He has demonstrated that he is a masterful personality.
e.g. This is a masterly piece of performance

Afflict: cause someone to suffer; inflict: punish or put a burden on someone.

e.g. For years, he has been afflicted with muscle pain.
e.g. The tyrant had inflicted punishment on those who opposed him.

Farther / Further

Father:  refers to greater distance; further:  with more or greater intensity.

e.g. Our new house is farther from the lake than from the river.
e.g. The demonstration only led to further racial tension. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Don't Confuse These Words

To write effectively, you must be careful with your choice of words. Here are some words that may be misused: 

Perishable / Perishing

Perishable: liable to die quickly; perishing: causing suffering.

e.g. Fresh vegetables are perishable; put them in the refrigerator.
e.g. Negative thinking may cause perishing emotions and thoughts.

Numerical / Numerous
Numerical: having to do with numbers; numerous: great in number.

e.g. If you want to do well in your math, you must learn these numerical symbols.
e.g. The turnout at the meeting was numerous.

Observable / Observant
Observable: can be seen or noticed; observant: quick to pay attention.

e.g. The solution to the problem is observable to many scientists.
e.g. To be a good scientist, you must be observant of all the relevant details and data.

Fragile / Frail

Fragile: delicate, easily broken; frail: weak in health; without strong support.

e.g. This piece of glassware is fragile; please handle it with care.
e.g. You look pale and frail today. What's wrong with you?
e.g. The presidential candidate received frail support from his own State.

Providing that / Provided that
Provided that: on condition that; providing that is incorrect.

e.g. You can go out to play provided (that) you have finished your homework.
e.g. You can keep the book for another week providing that no one has reserved it (incorrect)
e.g. The millionaire has helped the poor, providing many of them with food and shelter. (correct; meaning: giving or offering)

Noteworthy / Noticeable
Noteworthy means deserving attention; noticeable means easily seen.

e.g. The candidate's accomplishments are noteworthy.
e.g. The flaws in the Governor's character are easily noticeable to the public.

Indoor / Indoors
Indoor is an adjective; indoors is an adverb.

e.g. Basketball is both an indoor and outdoor game.
e.g. A storm is coming; let's go indoors.

Welcome / Welcomed
Welcome is an adjective or a verb; welcomed is a participle.

e.g. You are most welcome.
e.g. This is a welcome party for all newcomers.
e.g. I like to welcome all of you.
e.g. The guests were welcomed by all of us in front of the house.

Impersonate / Personate

Impersonate: copy or imitate a person for fun; personate is to claim to be another person with the purpose to cheat or deceive.

e.g. The comedian impersonated the movie star to entertain the audience.
e.g. Someone personated the doctor, and went into the surgery room

Accountable to / Accountable for
Accountable to: responsible to someone; accountable for: responsible for something.

e.g. The CEO is accountable to the Board; he has to be accountable for all his business decisions.

Stephen Lau 

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Read: American Idioms for ESL Learners