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Separate vs separate

Separate and separate are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. These word pairs are often misused words. Heteronyms exist because of our ever-changing English language, and these words with the same spelling and different pronunciation and meaning are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that look the same but are not pronounced … [Read more...]

Two-time

Two-time is a compound word that is an idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, … [Read more...]

Cast the first stone

Cast the first stone is an idiom with religious roots. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal … [Read more...]

Sit vs set

Sit and set are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation but are used in very different circumstances; they are often confused. We will look at the difference in meaning between the irregular verbs sit and set and how they are used, where these words came from, and some examples of their use in sentences. Sit means to take a posture in which one's weight is balanced on one's buttocks and one's back is straight. One may sit in a chair, on a bed, on the floor, on a stool, or any … [Read more...]

Pushing up daisies

Pushing up daisies is an idiom with roots in nineteenth century flower lore. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase … [Read more...]

Tomayto, tomahto and potayto, potahto

Tomayto, tomahto and potayto, potahto are two variations of an idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal … [Read more...]

Dance on someone’s grave

Dance on someone's grave is an idiom of uncertain origin. An idiom is a word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even … [Read more...]

Self-quarantine vs self-isolation

Self-quarantine and self-isolation are two terms that have come into much more frequent use recently and mean two different things. Self-quarantine and self-isolation are compound words, which are words that are derived from two separate words joined together. A hyphenated compound word is a compound word that is composed of two or more words linked by hyphens. In general, hyphenated compound words are midway on the journey between being rendered as separate words, or an open compound word, to … [Read more...]

It’s not rocket science

It's not rocket science is an American idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the … [Read more...]

Cattle vs chattel

Cattle and chattel are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and are often confused. We will look at the difference between the definitions of cattle and chattel, the etymology for these two words, and some examples of their use in sentences. Cattle is a plural noun for cows, bulls, steers, yearlings or calves. Cattle are farm animals that are domesticated ruminants and herbivores with cloven hooves and horns that are bred for meat production or dairy production. The … [Read more...]

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