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English language

Which Word Wednesday: Conscience vs. Conscious

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Words that sound alike are easy to mix up, especially when you are speaking quickly or you are under pressure. Our brains grab for one word but spit out its second-cousin-once-removed—the words are related, but do not have the same meaning. Today’s Which Word Wednesday features one such word pair,…

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Which Word Wednesday: Acronym vs. Initialism

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Long before prescriptivists were lamenting the onset of mobile phone text-speak, there were abbreviations like laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) and USA (United States of America). Abbreviations come in two flavors: acronyms and initialisms. This week’s Which Word Wednesday looks at…

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Which Word Wednesday: Geek vs. Nerd

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When I was in junior high and high school, TV shows and movies highlighted the awkward lives of the socially inept. These were lovable-yet-dorky characters like Sarah Jessica Parker’s Patty Greene in Square Pegs. At that time, being nerdy or geeky was not something to strive for. Today, being quirky…

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Which Word Wednesday: Epee vs. Foil

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Over the Christmas holiday, I got to visit with my honorary niece (hey Miss Hannah!) who is home from college. She mentioned that she is giving the fencing team a go, and that led to a discussion about the swords. Both épée and foil are common crossword puzzle answers, so…

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Which Word Wednesday: Frog vs. Toad

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Are you familiar with the Frog and Toad children’s books? I read them back in the day and was reminded of them in an article by Erin Newcomb posted at Christ and Pop Culture on Monday. The best books present characters so real that readers consider them friends. Frog is…

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Which Word Wednesday: Prim vs. Prissy

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Selections for Which Word Wednesday typically are chosen from a language debacle or mystery that I simply must put to rest. I must be in a language slump, because this week, I couldn’t think of even one example to draw upon. Good thing we have The Artful Nuance: A Refined…

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