Angela’s ABCs: words sometimes confused – loose and lose by Angela Caldin

  I often hesitate over which of these two words is right in the particular context and it’s only when I say them out loud that I can get it clear. Loose, which rhymes with goose, is usually an adjective meaning not firmly or tightly held in place; not compact or dense; and free from restraint or confinement. The farmer realised that all the cows were loose and were trampling the vegetable patch. Matilda had a loose tooth which she hoped would soon come out and earn her some money from the… Read More

Angela’s ABCs: words often confused – appraise and apprise by Angela Caldin

I often hear these two words confused and though I wrote about them a few years ago, I’m doing a repeat explanation here. The problem seems to be that people will often use the verb to appraise when they mean to apprise. This rarely seems to happen the other way around, i.e., using apprise instead of appraise. It may be that this mistake occurs because some people are unaware that to apprise even exists – it’s a very formal sort of word. Appraise The verb to appraise means to assess or to evaluate. We inspect and appraise pre-owned vehicles before putting them on sale. Managers appraise… Read More

Kindness by Angela Caldin

I had a video call the other day with my family in Auckland. My youngest granddaughter ran towards the camera in a stripy nightie with the words be kind in white lettering on the front. Nice, I thought, better than so many of the annoying slogans on girls’ clothes such as: little miss attitude, cool kid alert, girls rule, princess, j’adore and totally in love with today. Then I thought about the sort of slogans we see on boys’ t-shirts such as: here comes trouble; young, wild and free, roarsome dude and… Read More

Proverbs and idioms by Angela Caldin

A few weeks ago, I was pondering on the difference between an idiom and a cliché. I understood that the overall meaning of an idiom is different from the meaning of the individual words used, whereas a cliché is a phrase or expression which has been severely overused so as to become hackneyed and stale. In addition, I realised that many idioms, though by no means all, are also clichés This week I’m pondering on the difference between an idiom and a proverb and finding that, though the distinction is often clear,… Read More

Angela’s ABCs – clichés and idioms by Angela Caldin

At the weekend, I was telling anybody who would listen that I’d been spending time with someone who spoke using a lot of clichés. To illustrate my point, I gave an example, ‘We mustn’t upset the apple cart.’ My younger daughter, who, surprisingly, had been listening, said, ‘That’s not a cliché, it’s an idiom.’ I was intrigued. She knows about these things because she’s a primary school teacher and she teaches her Year 4s all about these figures of speech: metaphor, simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia, idiom and cliché. Even so, I still felt… Read More