Angela’s ABCs Advice and advise

One letter makes all the difference: Advice is a noun. Change the ‘c’ to an ‘s’ and you have advise which is a verb and pronounced slightly differently: ‘I really value your advice and your opinion is important to me.’ noun ‘Please can you advise me, as I am unsure what to do for the best.’ verb Hint for remembering the difference: ‘ice’ is a noun, so advice is a noun too; ‘is’ is a verb, so advise is a verb too. Advertisements

Angela’s ABCs: Appraise and apprise

One letter makes all the difference: Appraise means to assess or evaluate. Lose the second ‘a’ and you have apprise which means to inform, notify or advise. ‘I decided to have my father’s war medals appraised by an expert in militaria.’ ‘The expert apprised me of the medals’ value by return of post.’ Having trouble understanding a tricky word? Don’t know whether to use an apostrophe before or after an s? Not sure of your grammar? Ask our word expert Angela, and she’ll get back to you via Angela’s ABCs posts.

Angela’s ABCs Imply and infer

Why do so many people muddle up imply and infer when they have opposite meanings? Imply means to state indirectly or suggest, while infer means to deduce or draw a conclusion. A speaker or writer implies, while a listener or reader infers: ‘He implied in his text message that he was about to dump me.’ ‘I inferred from his text message that he was about to dump me.’

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Emily Smart

I heard myself saying to someone the other day, ‘I’m not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, but…’ or some such thing, and I suddenly thought, ‘What the bloody hell am I talking about?’ Obviously, I get the gist of the saying, which is to refrain from telling someone who already knows what they’re doing, how to do something. But where on earth does this well-known maxim come from? Is it that old people have no teeth and therefore have to suck out the contents of an egg to eat… Read More

Parlez-vous McSpeak? By Emily Smart

I like McDonald’s. In fact, what’s not to like? They make big fat greasy burgers that can cure even the worst hangover, they have indoor play facilities that keep the kids busy while you try and read a newspaper, and the small people are given a piece of plastic that either waves, makes a loud noise or flashes, and is invariably broken before you can say ‘Get in your car seat please.’ Leaving the politics of obesity and the dodgy bloke in the clown outfit to one side, one thing that struck… Read More