In a previous post, I shared eight words with unclear meanings.
On the list were: “averse,” “poisonous” and “comprise,” among other. At the end of the post, I asked PR Daily readers to share their commonly misunderstood words. Here are some of those responses, plus a few more confusing terms:
1. “Jealousy: Worry someone is taking what you have. Envy: Wanting what someone else has.”
2. “The trick for less or fewer: You have less coffee, but fewer cups of coffee.”
3. “People often misuse ‘presently’ when they mean ‘currently’ or ‘at present.’ Presently means ‘soon,’ not ‘at this moment.'”
4. “‘Condone’ does not mean ‘approve of,’ it means merely to overlook or passively allow.”
5. “‘Unique,’ ‘ubiquitous’ and ‘optimal‘ are absolutes. They cannot be modified (as ‘very unique,’ ‘almost unique,’ ‘more unique,’ etc.) Either it is, or it isn’t.”
6. i.e. and e.g.
The term i.e. is the abbreviation for the Latin term id est, which means “that is” or “in other words.”
Example: “Do a bit of research if you are uncertain which word to use, i.e., use a dictionary.”
The term e.g. is the abbreviation of “for example.”
Example: “There are several online dictionaries available, e.g., Wordhippo, Wordnik, and Dictionary.com.”
7. Farther and further
Farther refers to physical distance.
Example: “My new house is farther from the office.”
Further refers to advance or in addition.
Example: “I hope to further my understanding of British literature by visiting England.”
8. Bi- and semi- (as in “bimonthly” or “semiannually”)
Biweekly means once every two weeks.
Bimonthly means once every two months.
Biannually means once every two years.
Semiweekly means twice a week.
Semimonthly means twice a month.
Semiannually means twice a year.
PR Daily readers, care to add any other confusing terms to the list?
This article was first published on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.