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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Killed It - A Bit about Word Usage

Killed it

A single word can have so many different meanings, and the nuances of a particular meaning can make or break a sentence. "She killed it" could mean that she gave her very best performance and is sure to take top prize in the kazoo blowing contest. Or it could mean the squirrel that unwisely chose to cross the street in front of her car, as she excitedly yelled her good fortune from the auto's open windows, came to a flat and definite end.

Similarly, lots of words in the English language sound alike, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Don't use the word break, when what you really mean is "She stepped on the brake, but it was too late" or the word brake when what you should say is "Slapping her guilty, sweaty palm on her forehead, she whispered, 'Give me a break.'"

Misunderstandings are common when the wrong words are used or when meanings are confused.

Do you have a good example of confusing contexts?

Tomorrow: Loanwords

This post is brought to you by the April A to Z Blog Challenge. Check back all through April for daily discussions of writing conventions.


Sarah Pearson said...

I think the most common has to be their, there and they're. Or your and you're :-)

Anonymous said...

English is a tough language and there are a lot of spelled alikes and sound alikes.

mooderino said...

I think it's pretty amazing a word like 'read' can be pronounced two different ways (present tense or past tense) purely based on context. I can't think of an example where you wouldn't know if you were going to read a book, or had already read a book.

now following,
Moody Writing

Sandra Tyler said...

having two boys the word "killed" enters my days much more than I relish it.

Paula Martin said...

I read a book recently where the author used the word 'heal' when she actually meant 'heel'.

farawayeyes said...

Hi Lucy,nice to meet you. Words and their meanings, let's get confused.

Lynda R Young said...

The English language is a confusing and complex one.

William Kendall said...

When I'm editing, or reading a blog or passage in a paper, I'll often come across what's meant to be written as "free rein", the notion that someone's being given clearance to proceed. Rein is often mistakingly written as reign or rain.