Angela’s ABCs: Words Easily Confused – Discreet and Discrete
Discreet This is an adjective meaning prudent, circumspect, modest, self-restrained and tactful. Although she was extremely wealthy, she dressed in a discreet way and shopped in downmarket places. I desperately wanted to confide in someone about my problems, but it was difficult to know who would keep things to themselves and be totally discreet. Discrete This is an adjective meaning distinct or separate and is used to identify a particular whole as having distinct, separate, or non-continuous parts. The facility had several discrete resources: a pharmacy, a detox centre, a crisis care provision and a health… Read More
Angela’s ABCs Affect and effect
One letter makes all the difference: Affect and effect are frequently confused and I wish I had a dollar, or better still a pound, for every time I have seen them wrongly used. A good way to understand the difference is to remember that affect is normally a verb and effect is normally a noun.
Angela’s ABCs Practice and practise
One letter makes all the difference: Practice and practise, licence and license follow the same rules as advice and advise which we posted last week. Practice is a noun and practise is a verb: ‘When she qualified as a doctor, she joined a general practice in a deprived part of the city.’ noun ‘She decided not to practise medicine any longer in order to become an MP and champion the rights of the marginalised.’ verb
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.
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.