Words sometimes confused: continuous and continual by Angela Caldin

I know that there is a difference between continuous and continual and I remember being taught about it at school. But sometimes I forget what the difference is. So I’m explaining it for my benefit and for the benefit of anyone else who might like to know that they are not synonyms. Continuous indicates that something goes on without interruption, whereas continual indicates that something goes on over a period of time, but with intervals of interruption. The continuous noise of machinery from the next door factory began to affect her health…. Read More

Angela’s ABCs: words sometimes confused – discrete and discreet by Angela Caldin

The adjectives discrete and discreet are homophones which share the same Latin origin: discretus, meaning separate. They are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings. Discrete has stayed close in meaning to its Latin origins and means individually separate and distinct: We can no longer view extreme incidents such as flood, drought and high temperatures as discrete happenings, but must study them in the context of climate change as a whole. The golf club has three discrete membership categories. The mechanical device consists of several discrete parts which all work together… Read More

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 sometimes confused – all together and altogether

All together and altogether are homophones, which means they sound alike, but they have different meanings. I, for one, find it easy to confuse them, so the explanation below is for my benefit as well as anyone else who might be interested. All together, a two-word phrase, means collectively, with each other, everyone doing something all at once or all in one place: We gathered round the piano and sang the folk song all together.       (It’s possible to break up this two-word saying as in “We all gathered round… Read More

Angela’s ABCs words sometimes confused: loathe and loath

One letter makes all the difference Loathe (rhymes with clothe) is a verb meaning to dislike intensely, to detest or to hate She enjoyed eating most fruits, but she loathed pineapple; even the smell made her feel sick. His strictly austere Presbyterian family brought him up to loathe Catholics because of their ritual and finery. Loath (rhymes with both) is an adjective meaning unwilling or reluctant The water was calm, but so bitterly cold that he was loath to jump in. Her boss’s reputation for sexual harassment was so well known that… Read More