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word usage

Which Word Wednesday: Superfluous Redundancies Edition

By | language | 2 Comments

Happy Which Word Wednesday, folks! Today’s edition I’ve titled the Superfluous Redundancies Edition to highlight a little-noticed practice in our speaking that makes for some needless repetitive phrases. Take a look at these phrases, for example: raging inferno sudden impulse respond back fuse together These are commonly used, both in…

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Which Word Wednesday: Conscience vs. Conscious

By | language | No Comments

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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