TRICKY WORDS and why not to use them

by Terry 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry

    Perfectly good words go unused in writing and speaking.
    Their meaning isn't clear and the eye is 'tricked' by similarity to other words OR sounds.

    1. Spoken words like SUCCOR (sounds like 'sucker' but means"furnishing relief".) It does complicate the matter if you're referring to a blowjob, however.

    2. Another tricky word is APPOSITE (looks like "opposite") which means "appropriate."
    You might remark that you love somebody and are met with an "apposite" response.
    Does that mean the one responding feels hatred or dislike?
    So we don't use the word. It's too tricky.

    3. "Feckless" can be tricky. We aren't quite sure.
    If we read: "General Flipdiggit was a feckless warrior."
    What are we to think? Is he "reckless?" Does he have "freckles"?
    Feckless means "weak" or "irresponsible" or "worthless."
    That's why you probably don't use the word. (Or do you?)
    I love vocabulary words but - NOT - if I have to stop and explain them. It makes me sound like I think the listener is stupid.
    I don't wish to be misunderstood - so - I just avoid tricky words unless I'm simply indulging myself.

    4. CAVALRY is a tricky word. Churchgoers accidentally pronounce it as CALVARY (the place Jesus was executed.) I hear it all the time in movies and TV shows.
    5. Another tricky word is "LITERALLY" which only means "exactly as WRITTEN."
    Most folks really mean something else. What do they intend?
    They're exaggerating: "I literally died on the spot."
    If not exaggerating, they mean "actually" but "literally" is wrong.

    6. Excetera is NOT a word (dammit.)
    People who use Excetera don't read books or they'd know it is a Latin phrase: et cetera and that phrase means "and other things similar to these." The abbreviation is etc. not exc. Duh.

    7. Supposably is NOT a word. Once again, these people don't read or they'd know it is "supposedly". ABLY is not EDLY.

    8. Preemptory is NOT a word. The real word has PER not PRE. "Peremptory".
    Sloppy reading skills or they just don't read. Your guess is as good as mine.

    9. Realator. Lots of dopes put in the "UH" where it doesn't belong.
    The real word is REAL-TOR which is 2 syllables and not 3 syllables.

    10. Expresso has nothing to do with coffee. It is simply wrong.
    Monty Norman's only hit musical was EXPRESSO BONGO.
    Norman is a mountebank. (Look it up.)
    The genuine word is ESPRESSO. However, brothers and sisters, I have a sad announcement. So many idiots used the wrong word for so many years the lexicographers shrugged and gave in. You'll now see the EX in the dictionary. Advice: Treat it as you do your own EX.

    11. Australia. This may shock you but - it isn't Austria.

    12. Heighth. No such word. Cut it out this minute! The tricky part is as follows. There is Depth, there is Width, and there is - no no no - not Heighth! It is HEIGHT. Let go of the "h", knucklehead!

    13. Anyways. Grow up! Toss that final "s". The word is "anyway."

    14. PRIMER. This one chaps my butt. A tricky word that is mostly used improperly. Here is how you break it down...
    A. If you are referring to the first coat of paint, it is pronounced as PRY-MURR.
    B. If you mean any book of basic elements, it rhymes with DIM MURR. (such as him or). Shape up!

    15. Pernounce. No such word! It is "Pro-nounce" like pronouns.
    The proper pro-nun-ci-ation has no "purr" which is for cats only.
    Be a PRO and do not PURR.
    There are plenty more tricky words but I'm bored with this.
    If you don't own a physical dictionary by the age of 16, you are a lost soul for the rest of your life.
    If you don't read books and only learn the English language by listening to peckerwoods - you are likely going to lapse into bad habits of speaking. You may say "AX" instead of "ASK" for instance.
    You will say "John Druh" for genre instead of "zhon-ruh".
    I have a dear friend who refers to an art mural as a MEW REE ULL.
    I dare not correct him. It is rude.
    When I was much younger I was the terror of my teachers at school; correcting their speech with Torquemada's relentless pursuit of witches and evil in speaking and writing.
    I'm more laid back now. But those teachers went to their grave thinking I was an asshole.

    p.s. They were right.

    If it weren't for my 8th Grade English teacher, Ms. Green, I'd never have known how awful my grammar was and how profound my southern accent was! I had stood and given an oral book report. Afterward, Mr. Green pointed out all of my egregious mistakes. I was shocked but it sent me on a self-improvement journey that changed the rest of my life. I bought the best dictionary I could afford. I learned 16 new vocabulary words each day and the "proper" pro-nun-ci-ation.

    And THAT is when I became a pedantic pain in the ass :)
  • under the radar
    under the radar

    Pedantry is a fine pastime. It has nothing to do with kiddies.

  • Terry

    Pedantry is a high-risk proposition since you don't win friends and you
    exasperate a lot of people.

    Besides, I've lived long enough to know we live in an age where all goal posts are on wheels. Being "right" ain't what it used to be.

  • GrreatTeacher

    The confusion of WEARY and WARY drives me crazy.

    If you're WEARY of something, you're tired of it.

    If you're WARY of something, you're unsure and distrustful of it.

    Also, TENET vs. TENANT:

    A TENET is a belief or principle, e.g. pacifism is a tenet of Quakerism.

    A TENANT is an individual who rents and lives in a property. "The tenant moved in after paying a security deposit and two months' rent."

    You don't hear this one much, but it's jarring when you do hear it incorrectly: INTER vs. INTERN.

    People are INTERRED in a grave. An INTERN is a person who trains in a new job temporarily to gain experience, with or without pay.

    To speak about the dead guy who's "interned here" always makes me wonder whether he'll come back to life after his graveyard "internship" is up!

  • GrreatTeacher

    Another one:


    I'll retain my PREROGATIVE to silently judge you on your grammar.

    And, dear God, if one more person starts a sentence with "Me and my friend," I think I'll have a stroke.

    You cannot start a sentence with "me." Everyone actually knows this because you never hear people say, "Me went to the store."

    But, SOMEHOW, when you add your friend in, it's suddenly okay? "Me and my friend went to the store?" No! "Me" is only used at the end of a sentence ( loosely speaking, it's an objective pronoun) as in, "The clerk told ME that the store was closing soon."

    The beginning of the sentence pronoun is, "I." "I went to the store."

    Also, when speaking of yourself and others, you don't mention yourself first. It should be, "My friend and I went to the store."

    I hate, hate, hate this elemental piece of grammar mistake. And, I even hear some teachers using it. I can correct my students, but I can't correct other teachers.

    Since when do we not even care about basic grammar?!?

    PS Runner up: "Gonna." Many people use this in casual speech and I don't have a problem with that.

    But, the number of newscasters on TV, who should be speaking Standard English, who say, "gonna" instead of "going to" is mindblowing in the US. Listen carefully and count how many times this happens. Local news, national news, all of them. And usually they're reading teleprompters which likely have "going to" spelled out properly and yet it gets read as "gonna." This is not a writing problem, but a speech problem.

    Seriously, watch multiple newscasts and count the numbers. It's actually shocking.

  • titch

    This is a very good listing of words that get misused quite frequently. How about the phrases "could of", "should of", and "would of". The correct phrases are " could have", "should have" and "would have." Just thought I'd mention those. Also, I wish that people would know the difference between "there", "their", and "they're". The word "there" indicates place, location. "OK, put your copy of the NWT over there on that table." "Their" indicates the ownership or possession of something or someone. "Oh, those copies of the NWT....well, they are their very own copies." And, the word "they're" is a contraction of the two words, "they" and "are." "Tomorrow, they're going to the Circuit Assembly." So, please use the words correctly. Thank you. Best Regards.....Titch.

  • hoser

    I remember when Steven Lett gave an illustration and messed up the expresso espresso thing. It seems that Jehovah isn’t a very good proof reader when it comes to governing body talks.

  • Corney

    Well, at least "irregardless" is a legit word, ain't it?

  • JeffT

    Realtor is three syllables: re-al-tor. From my searching I would say that about one half of the internet gets it wrong.

    Consider this: Realator is four syllables.

  • GrreatTeacher

    In my experience, plenty of people pronounce "real" as a single syllable.

    I pronounce realtor as REEL ter. I say it quickly similar to kilter. It would morph from kilter to keelter to reelter.

    As when Canadians don't glide their diphthongs and it sounds like "aboot" to American ears, not all Americans glide the e to a in real. Sometimes it sounds more like rill. And that rilly hurts my fillings. I hate it when my rillter mispronounces things, too. I just sigh and look up at the cilling and pray for his English to have some hilling.

    Regardless, there shouldn't be an "a" before the "tor" syllable.

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