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[Grammar] Article 7 USAGE


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USAGE

Part 1

 

Expressing yourself clearly and effectively depends greatly on the words you choose and how you use them in sentences. The English language offers a rich and extensive vocabulary, but it also harbors a wealth of look-alike, sound-alike words that can confuse your message.

 

Accept/except

 

* accept (verb): Receive willing; agree to; consent to.

 

o John will accept the award at the luncheon on Thursday.

 

* except (preposition): Other than; with the exclusion of.

 

o All of the reports except Linda's have been turned in.

 

Adapt/adept/adopt

 

* adapt (verb): To adjust to the needs.

 

o You can adapt the report template to suit the information you wish to convey.

 

* adept (adjective): Proficient; extremely skilled.

 

o Angry customers soon calm down when Ellison speaks to them; she is adept at making people feel relaxed.

 

* adopt (verb): To choose.

 

o If we adopt the new rules for our meetings, things will be more orderly.

 

Adherence/adherents

 

* adherence (noun): Attachment; following closely.

 

o Rules will only work if everyone is in adherence to them.

 

* adherents (plural noun): Supporters; followers.

 

o The adherents of the new proposal made sure they were at the meeting in order to show their support.

 

Adverse/averse

 

* adverse (adjective): Unfavorable, hostile.

 

o The President was opposed to adverse criticism.

 

* averse (adjective): Opposed (usually used with "to")

 

o The President was averse to hostile criticism.

 

Affect/effect

 

* affect (verb): To influence (most common usage).

 

o The new policy will affect employee morale in a positive way.

 

* affect (noun): Feeling or emotion (rare usage).

 

o The patient demonstrated little affect during the session.

 

* effect (verb): To bring about, to cause (rare usage).

 

o The cost reduction program will effect layoffs of some staff members.

 

* effect (noun): Result, outcome (most common usage).

 

o What effect will the equipment malfunction have on shipment of the orders?

 

Aid/aide

 

* aid (verb): To help.

 

o I would appreciate it if you could aid me in finding conference room 2B.

 

* aide (noun): An assistant.

 

o The department will be hiring an aide to help with all the paperwork this project is generating.

 

Allude/elude

 

* allude (verb): to make an indirect reference.

 

o At the staff meeting, the manager alluded to the customer service complaints.

 

* elude (verb): To escape detection.

 

o The errors in the report eluded the proofreader.

 

Allusion/illusion

 

* allusion (noun): Indirect reference.

 

o Harriet made an allusion to the other company's profitability in her report.

 

* illusion (noun): An erroneous, false perception.

 

o Perfect morale is an illusion in many companies today.

 

Alternate/alternative

 

* alternate (noun): In place of another; substitute.

 

o I was selected as an alternate, to be there in case one of the jurors cannot finish the whole trial.

 

* alternative (adjective): One of several things from which to choose.

 

o Though several alternatives to the current method exist, the team only tried one before scrapping the project altogether.

 

Among/between

 

* among (preposition): Used to describe relationships involving more than two people or things.

 

o The four of them decided among themselves where they wanted to have dinner.

 

* between (preposition): Used to describe relationships involving only two or for comparing one thing to a group in which it belongs.

 

o The choice was between New York and Los Angeles.

 

Ante-/anti-

 

* ante- (prefix): Prefix meaning "before."

 

o We dedicate this memorial to our ancestors, to our antecedents in the community, to all those who have come before us.

 

* anti- (prefix): Prefix meaning "against."

 

o I hope my antiperspirant lasts through the meeting; I don't want them to see me break a sweat.

 

Anxious/eager

 

* anxious (adjective): Worried; disturbed; concerned.

 

o The anxious secretary checked three times for the overnight delivery.

 

* eager (adjective): Enthusiastic interested; keen.

 

o Susan was eager to start her new job.

 

Appraise/apprise

 

* appraise (verb): To evaluate; to judge; to estimate.

 

o The head of Risk Management will appraise the four buildings before issuing insurance policies.

 

* apprise (noun): A foundation upon which something rests.

 

o I will apprise you of the board's decision immediately after Tuesday's meeting.

 

Bases/basis

 

* bases (plural noun): Plural of "base" and of "basis."

 

o Let's make sure we cover all the bases of our pitch again before we make our final presentation.

 

* basis (noun): A foundation upon which something rests.

 

o On the basis of your stunning letters of recommendation, we have decided to hire you for the position.

 

Bizarre/bazaar

 

* bizarre (adjective): Strikingly unconventional; odd; weird.

 

o I knew something bizarre was happening when the elevator was filled with balloons.

 

* bazaar (noun): A market.

 

o Every week during the summer a bazaar sets up in the parking lot to sell crafts and snacks.

 

Broach/brooch

 

* broach (verb): To introduce.

 

o I hate to broach the subject, but have you found out what led to Alan quitting last week?

 

* brooch (noun): A piece of jewelry.

 

o I don't usually wear jewelry, but my grandmother gave me this brooch recently and she's meeting me for lunch.

 

Capital/capitol

 

* capital (noun): Assets; money; seat of state government; upper case letter.

 

o The new plant represents a major capital investment.

 

o Denver is the capital of Colorado.

 

o Start each sentence with a capital letter.

 

* capitol (Noun): Building where the legislature meets.

 

o Capital Hill is usually a frenzy of activity.

 

Cash/cache

 

* cash (noun): Money (slang).

 

o We have the cash to invest now, and we need to act while the market is hot.

 

* cache (noun): A hiding place.

 

o I know there is a cache of chocolate around here somewhere, just in case of emergencies.

 

Casual/causal

 

* casual (adjective): Incidental; not formal

 

o We had a casual discussion about the case when we passed in the hall, but we did not have any meetings about it yet.

 

* causal (adjective): Expressed cause; relates to or constitutes a cause.

 

o The causal factor in the company's debt is that it spent more money than it took in.

 

Chord/cord

 

* chord (noun): A combination of musical notes.

 

o The opening chord of this piece of music is a perfect representation of the energy our product delivers. Let's use it in the commercial.

 

* cord (noun): String or rope.

 

o Tie up the bundle of catalogues with cord so we can recycle them.

 

Cite/sight/site

 

* cite (verb): To quote an authority; to acknowledge.

 

o Linda cited the first three quarterly reports in her year-end summary.

 

* sight (noun): Ability to see.

 

o Bill did not lose sight of problems in Operations when he moved to Purchasing.

 

* site: (noun): Location or place.

 

o Our company has three remote sites where manufacturing takes place.

 

Climatic/climactic

 

* climatic (adjective): Relating to climax; the highest point.

 

o There will be some climatic discomfort in the office until the air conditioning is repaired.

 

* climactic

 

o Of course, the most climactic point of the conference occurred when the whiteboard fell over onto the laser projector and burst into flames.

 

Complement/compliment

 

* complement (verb): To complete or add value to something.

 

o The new safety program will complement perfectly the OSHA regulations implemented on January 1.

 

* complement (noun): Something that completes or brings to perfection.

 

o The wine was a delicious complement to the meal.

 

* compliment (verb): To praise.

 

o Susan complimented the staff on a job well done.

 

* compliment (noun): An expression of praise.

 

o Bill was embarrassed by the compliment.

 

Conscience/conscious

 

* conscience (noun): A sense of right and wrong.

 

o Only someone with a complete lack of conscience would bilk old ladies out of their savings.

 

* conscious (adjective): Fully aware.

 

o I am conscious of the fact that sometimes you need to spend money to make money, but there are limits.

 

Continual/continuous

 

* continual (adjective): Occurring steadily, but with occasional stops or breaks.

 

o Because he continually missed his deadlines, he received a verbal warning.

 

* continuous (adjective): Unbroken, occurred without pauses, stops, or breaks.

 

o Niagara Falls receives a continuous flow of water from the river.

 

Council/counsel/consul

 

* council (noun): An advisory or legislative body.

 

o Sandra's position on the Executive Council will last for two years.

 

* counsel (noun): Advice or help.

 

o Mary sought counsel from Brian about whether or not she should interview for the new position.

 

* counsel (verb): To advise.

 

o The dietitian will counsel the patient about nutritious meal plans.

 

* consul (noun) A government official who resides in a foreign city and represents fellow citizens there.

 

o The consul promised to check into the snarled paperwork.

 

Criticize/critique

 

* criticize (verb): To judge negatively.

 

o It is a bad idea to criticize our new programs in front of the fund raisers who made them possible in the first place.

 

* critique (verb): To evaluate.

 

o Now that the project is complete, I'd like to critique our process so we know what to repeat, and what aspects need changing.

 

Decent/descent/dissent

 

* decent (adjective): Proper, adequate, downward.

 

o If we do a decent job at promoting this product, it will fly off the shelves.

 

* descent (noun): The act of moving downward.

 

o The descent of the company to second in the market is unacceptable to driven CEO.

 

* dissent (noun): Disagreement.

 

o The dissent in the room was audible in the loud groans we heard when the idea was presented.

 

Deduce/deduct

 

* deduce (verb): To infer, to draw a conclusion.

 

o I deduce from your wet umbrella that it is still raining outside.

 

* deduct (verb): To subtract from.

 

o My balance is low because every week I deduct more from account than I put in.

 

Defuse/diffuse

 

* defuse (verb): To make less harmful, potent, or tense.

 

o A trained negotiator can defuse a difficult situation between irritated parties.

 

* diffuse (verb): To spread out; to scatter.

 

o The lamps in the waiting room are too harsh; we need shades to diffuse the light.

 

Disapprove/disprove

 

* disapprove (verb): To express lack of approval.

 

o I disapprove of the way that some people take two-hour lunches and leave the work to the rest of us.

 

* disprove (verb): To prove false.

 

o The fact that our department is first in sales this quarter should disprove all those who criticized our plan.

 

Disburse/disperse

 

* disburse (verb): To pay out.

 

o The comptroller will not disburse the funds until the proper signatures have been received.

 

* disperse (verb): To scatter.

 

o The police asked the crowd to disperse after the party got out of hand.

 

Disinterested/uninterested

 

* disinterested (adjective): Impartial, fair, and objective.

 

o Sally was asked to be a disinterested member of the committee in formulating the new policy.

 

* uninterested (adjective): Not interested.

 

o Tom is uninterested in participating in the flex-time program.

 

Elicit/illicit

 

* elicit (verb): To draw forth.

 

o I tried to elicit a response from Jasper about what to order for lunch, but he said nothing.

 

* illicit (adjective): Amoral.

 

o The illicit ivory trade has led to the poaching of animals for nothing but their tusks.

 

Elusive/illusive

 

* elusive (adjective): Hard to catch.

 

o The goal is elusive for now, but once we have a decent team together, success will be ours.

 

* illusive (adjective): Unreal; imaginary.

 

o The illusive Phoenix is an appropriate symbol for rebirth and renewal.

 

Emerge/immerge

 

* emerge (verb): To rise out of.

 

o Green shoots began to emerge from the soil soon after the bulbs were planted.

 

* immerge (verb): To plunge into.

 

o Immerge your hand in cold water immediately so it won't swell.

 

Eminent/immanent/imminent

 

* eminent (adjective): Well-known.

 

o We are fortunate to have an eminent scholar on Egyptian sculpture as our lecturer today.

 

* immanent (adjective): Existing within; inherent

 

o Some feel that greed is immanent in human nature, while others believe in honest human kindness.

 

* imminent (adjective): Impending; soon to arrive.

 

o Alexander spent all his time on the phone making arrangements for his imminent vacation.

 

Everyday/every day

 

* everyday (adjective): Ordinary.

 

o We should sue the special china for dinner tonight; receiving a promotion is not an everyday occurrence!

 

* every day (adjective) (noun): Each day.

 

o Make sure to back up your data every day before you leave the office.

 

Exalt/exult

 

* exalt (verb): To raise in rank; glorify.

 

o Allison was exalted and given another promotion for doubling the client base upon taking over the department.

 

* exult (verb): To rejoice.

 

o While we all want to exult in the moment of our team's destruction of property is no way to show one's joy.

Edited by TalonRider
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