Epic vs epoch

An epic is a long poem, usually a story or ballad of ancient oral tradition that speaks about the adventures and deeds of a hero or legend. An epic may also refer to any long, narrative poem with the same style, structure and importance. Epic has also been applied to films, books or plays with the heroic quality of an epic. Epic also functions as an adjective, referring to something that is grand, imposing or heroic. The adverb form is epically. Epic first appears in the last part of the … [Read more...]

Duck tape or duct tape

Duct tape is a silver-colored strong adhesive tape, usually a few inches wide, that is used to repair a multitude of things. It is specifically manufactured to join heating and air conditioning duct work, though the uses for duct tape are uncountable. Duct tape is a noun that has also come into use as a verb, related words are duct tapes, duct taped and duct taping. Duck tape is a name brand of duct tape. The company history states that this tape was originally manufactured as a waterproof … [Read more...]

Daylight Saving Time or British Summer Time

Daylight Saving Time is the practice of adjusting clock time to achieve longer evening daylight, usually in summer. Clocks are set an hour ahead in the spring, then set back an hour in the autumn. The mnemonic "Spring forward, fall back" helps those who live in Daylight Saving Time areas to remember which way to set their clocks. The term Daylight Savings Time, with an "s" added to the end of Saving, is technically incorrect, though it is in usage. Daylight Saving Time was first proposed by … [Read more...]

Core, corps and corpse

Core is a noun which means the center part of something, whether it be the tough pith of a fruit, the dense central region of a planet or the most important part of an idea or discussion. Core also describes the central part of a nuclear reactor that contains the fissile material. The muscles of the human torso are referred to as the core. Core may be used as a transitive verb which is a verb which takes an object, to describe the action of removing the core of something, such as an apple. … [Read more...]

Chip on your shoulder

A chip on your shoulder is a metaphor which means that you are habitually negative, combative or have a hostile attitude, usually because of a deep resentment or long-held grievance.  The term chip on your shoulder seems to have first been used to describe the Royal Navy Dockyards' shipwrights' entitlement to offcuts of timber. At the end of the day, the shipwrights took home these chips on their shoulders. In the eighteenth century, the allotment of wood became too costly for the shipyard and … [Read more...]

Away vs a way

Away may be used as an adverb to signify (1.) a given place (2.) a distance from a particular person, object or place (3.) a specific distance in time (4.) in another direction (5.) moved aside from focus, no longer garnering the uppermost attention (6.) continuously and without pause (7.) into non-existence (8.) into the correct or safe place. When used as an adjective, away may refer to a sporting event played on an opponent's field. A way, two words,  is a noun with its article. A way … [Read more...]


Misspell means to spell a word incorrectly. Misspell is a transitive verb, it takes an object. Related verb forms are misspells and misspelling. The American past tense and past participle is misspelled, the British past tense and past participle is misspelt or misspelled. Misspell first appears in the middle of the seventeenth century. Ironically, misspell is one of the top one hundred most often misspelled words in the English language, usually misspelled with a single "s". Remember, misspell … [Read more...]

Liable vs libel

Liable is an adjective which means (1.) legally obligated (2.) susceptible (3.) likely to do or experience something. Liable comes from the Anglo-French liable meaning to bind, tie up, tether, bind by obligation. Libel is a published statement that is false, it defames the subject. Libel may be used as a noun or a verb, the American verb forms are libels, libeling and libeled. The British verb forms are libels, libelling and libelled. The American adjective form is libelous, the British … [Read more...]

Formally vs formerly

Formally means conforming to convention, ceremony and proper etiquette. Formally also means precise, methodical, or with official authorization. Formally is the adverbial form of formal. Formally appears in the English language in the late fourteenth century meaning in good form, in an orderly manner. Formerly means in the past, previously or in earlier times. Formerly is the adverbial form of former. In the early fourteenth century the Middle English word for formerly was andersith, formerly … [Read more...]

By, bye and buy

By is a word that means (1.) the identity of of the person performing an action (2.) spatially close to (3.) via (4.) according to (5.) in the amount of or rate of (6.) just past (7.) away. By is used as a preposition and as an adverb, it is one of the top one thousand most used words in the English language. Bye may be used as an informal goodbye. Bye also refers to a tournament or contest round when a player or team wins its round because they have no opponent. In 1883 the term bye came … [Read more...]

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