Self vs self-

Self is a pronoun used to refer to a person in a general sense. It is most commonly heard in myself, herself, or himself. As a prefix, it means the action or quality or object is given to one's self or done toward one's self. The vast majority of the time, self- words use a hyphen (e.g., self-love, self-actualization, or self-absorbed). In fact, with the exception of selfish, selfsame, selfness, selfless, and selfhood, all self- words hyphenated. Notice in the list of exceptions that all … [Read more...]

Dumpster vs dumpster

Dumpster is the name, inside the United States, for a large metal container for trash. Outside the United States the receptacle is called either a skip or a front load container. This term was created by a business for their specialized containers that let a truck empty them without any manual labor required. The name was formed from the word dump, the place were all trash is taken. For years the word was so popular that all containers were called Dumpsters, but the word remained … [Read more...]

Google vs google

Google, with a capital G, is the name of the company behind It is a search engine that allows one to find things on the internet. As a verb, google, notice the lowercase g, means to use a search engine to find something, usually the answer to a question. Originally this meant to use Google specifically to search, but now the term is so widespread that the definition has shifted to mean using any method to find the answer on the internet. If someone else tells you to 'go google … [Read more...]

Sensational vs sensationalistic

Sensational is an adjective that describes something or someone as inciting interest and excitement. It can be used when details about a topic are presented in a particular way so as to incite the most interest or excitement. Also, it can simply be a way to say something is great or awe-inspiring. The adverb form is sensationally. Sensationalistic is the adjective form of the word sensationalism. Sensationalism is a noun for the act of using details and information in a way to incite … [Read more...]

Indolence vs insolence

Indolence is a noun encompasses the attitude of being sedentary or going out of one's way to avoid work. In general to be lazy or slothful. The adjective form is indolent and the adverb form is indolently. Side note: Indolent is used in medical terminology to describe something that causes no pain or is progressing or growing slowly. Insolence is a noun for impolite or disrespectful attitudes and behavior. A child or underling could show insolence to a guardian or supervisor, … [Read more...]

Unexceptionable vs unexceptional

Unexceptionable is an adjective that describes something or someone as not likely to cause someone's disapproval or disdain. It is the opposite of exceptionable or something that is likely to cause disapproval or objection. The noun form is unexceptionableness and the adverb form is unexceptionably. Unexceptional is an adjective used to describe something as ordinary or without qualities that make it stand out from others of its kind. It is the opposite of exceptional or something … [Read more...]

Recognize vs recognise

Recognize means to remember, acknowledge truth or legal authority, or to realize something. British English lists an alternate spelling as recognise, but the main entry is recognize. North Americans (yes, that includes Canada) prefer the ize spelling, and this is accepted everywhere. However, outside North America some prefer the ise spelling and it is not incorrect. This spelling change goes across all derivatives including: recognizability, recognisability, recognizable, recognisable, … [Read more...]

Say one’s peace vs piece

The main problem with this phrase is that piece and peace are homophones. So until you read a phrase, you don't know which one is used, or misused. Say one's piece is the traditional version of the phrase and means to give a prepared speech or share an established opinion. Make peace means to let go of a grudge or reconnect with someone after an argument. Hold one's peace is to stay quiet about one's objections. This is most often heard in marriage ceremonies. An argument can be made … [Read more...]

Second that emotion or notion or motion

Second that emotion was the title of a popular song by Smokey Robinson in 1967. It was a play on words from the phrase second that motion. It can be used to say that someone doesn't feel the same way as someone else, but it is almost exclusively tongue in cheek and referencing the song. Second that motion is a phrase used in formal meetings. A motion is a proposal of action, which may or may not need to be seconded. To second something is to agree that it should be done. Usually a motion … [Read more...]

Thong or flip-flop

A thong can be a piece of leather used as a lash of a whip or underwear for women that does not cover their behind. In the United States and some other English-speaking countries, it can also be a shoe that is held on by two straps that go between the big toe. This is normally used in the plural, thongs, when referring to the shoe. Another name for this type of sandal is a flip-flop. Notice the hyphen in the spelling of flip-flop. A flip-flop can also be a reversal of an opinion. A person … [Read more...]

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