Words often confused – enervate and energise by Angela Caldin

Enervate and energise are antonyms which means they are opposites, though increasingly enervate is mistakenly used as a synonym for energise. Enervate means to deprive of force or strength, to destroy the vigour of, to weaken, to sap, to drain someone of energy, to make someone feel weak in a physical or mental way, to make someone feel debilitated. The gloomy, rainy weather seemed to enervate her system and she grew daily more weak and depressed. Britain’s democratic system is enervated and paralysed by parliament’s inability to make progress with Brexit. Spain’s… 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

Words Easily Confused – Dual and Duel by Angela Caldin

Dual is an adjective meaning double, twofold, composed of two parts or having a double character or purpose: They decided that their children should have dual nationality so that they could live in either country later on. He could only conclude that she had a dual personality – at times kind and charming, at others cruel and malicious. Duel is a noun or verb referring to a fight or struggle. It can refer to a prearranged combat between two people often using pistols or swords or to a struggle for domination or… Read More

Angela’s ABCs: Words Sometimes Confused – Purposely and Purposefully

I’ve heard these two adverbs confused twice this week, so I decided it would be worth looking closely at their definitions:   Purposely means intentionally, deliberately, on purpose.  When you mean to do something, you do it purposely: She crossed the road purposely because she didn’t want to have to speak to her ex-boyfriend. The footballer purposely tripped up the goalkeeper so that the ball would go into the net.     Purposefully means with a strong sense of purpose, or with determination and intent.  When you are determined to do something, you… Read More