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English language

Which Word Wednesday: Vigor vs. Vim

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Some words have been so linked that together they form a phrasal expression. (Think of pairs like warp and woof, flotsam and jetsam, kith and kin, etc.) Today’s Which Word Wednesday features one such pair: vim and vigor. Why is it that vim always gets to go first? Why don’t…

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Which Word Wednesday: Regal vs. Royal

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Despite the kerfuffle (that’s for my friends over at Christ and Pop Culture) surrounding Friday’s wedding of Prince William and Catherine, I’m planning to be a gawker from across the pond. I’m hosting a viewing party (my mom, sister, and niece will be in attendance) because: 1) I love weddings,…

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Which Word Wednesday: People vs. Persons

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The more I learn about language confirms how little I know about language. Each time I grab one of my word usage books for selecting a Which Word Wednesday match-up, I am delightfully surprised by something I had never heard before. Such is the case for this week’s pair, people…

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Which Word Wednesday: e.g. vs. i.e.

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Each Wednesday we gather around for nail-biting, heart-racing word battles. We look at definitions and context and examples. We toss around our opinions. We vote . . . well, some of us do. The word battles here at WWW can be intense. It’s sort of like Celebrity Deathmatch—without the gore….

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Which Word Wednesday: Reluctant vs. Reticent

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To err is human. Just don’t err around some linguists. They get rather crabby when people use irregardless or heighth or unloosen. The fear of using the wrong word in the presence a crabby linguist can make people rather tongue-tied. I know this, because recently several dear friends have commented…

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Which Word Wednesday: Bring vs. Take

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In real estate, the rule is location, location, location. That rule is also helpful for the word quandary in this week’s Which Word Wednesday discussion between the word bring and take. Location is key, because it helps you decide which word fits for the meaning you intend to convey. Here’s…

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Which Word Wednesday: Abstruse vs. Obtuse

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Moviegoers might rate a film by the story’s accuracy or entertainment value or unusual plot line. The most important factors for me when it comes to movies are character development and dialogue. Give me witty banter—such as in The Spanish Prisoner and Fantastic Mr. Fox—and deep characters—such as Pride and…

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