Angela’s ABCs – Words Easily Confused: Born and Borne

The distinction between these two words is quite tricky as born and borne are both forms of the verb to bear, but born relates to birth or origin and borne relates to being carried, transported, supported or transmitted. Born is used to describe the result of birth and by extension to describe a natural ability to do a particular job. It is also used in connection with the beginning or origin of something: He was born and brought up in Leeds. She is a born violinist. He is a Russian-born scientist living… Read More

Angela’s ABCs – Words Easily Confused: ambiguous and ambivalent by Angela Caldin

Ambiguous is an adjective meaning unclear, vague, confusing or capable of being understood in more than one way: The wording of the section of the law under discussion was ambiguous and therefore hard to interpret decisively. The ending of the film was ambiguous so that many who saw it were puzzled about what the director had intended.   Ambivalent is an adjective which means being uncertain about how you feel or having two opposing feelings at the same time:     He wanted to tell the truth but at the same time… Read More

Angela’s ABCs – Words Easily Confused: Credible/Creditable/Credulous; Incredible/Incredulous

Credible The adjective credible means believable, worthy, or trustworthy: She gave her evidence in composed and sincere tones, so that everyone in court found her a credible witness. It is often used with a negative: His latest claims are hardly credible, as they appear to have no foundation in fact. Creditable The adjective creditable means worthy of praise, credit or honour, though the word has an aspect to it which implies a limited kind of praise: The underdog candidate polled a creditable 35%. Although the first violinist was ill, the orchestra gave a creditable performance nonetheless. Credulous The adjective credulous means… Read More

Angela’s ABCs – Words Easily Confused: Tortuous and Torturous

One letter makes all the difference: The adjective tortuous means winding, crooked, marked by repeated twists and turns. In an abstract sense, it can also mean complex, devious, complicated, tricky to handle: They had to take a tortuous route over the mountains to escape. The path to peace in the Middle East is still as tortuous as it has ever been. The plots of soap operas become increasingly tortuous as they compete to attract viewers. The adjective torturous means painful in a cruel way, causing torture, or extremely slow and difficult: Training for a marathon can… Read More

Angela’s ABCs: Words Often Confused – Horde and Hoard

Horde refers to a large crowd, mob, gang, throng or swarm. It is always a noun and applies to people and other living beings and often has an aggressive connotation: Hordes of reporters followed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their recent visit to NZ. The sheep were attacked by a horde of ravening wolves. Hoard can be either a noun or a verb and is usually applied to things, often valuable things such as money, treasure or food. The noun hoard refers to an accumulated store often hidden, or a… Read More