Impractical vs impracticable

Impractical is an adjective to describe something or someone as unwise or impossible, without common sense, idealistic. Impracticable is a synonym of impractical in the definition of being unfeasible or impossible to use. Impractical has two derivatives, they are the noun impracticality and the adverb impractically. Impracticable has two derivatives, they are noun impracticability and adverb impracticably. Examples A moratorium on genetically modified crops is impractical, incumbent … [Read more...]


Folderol is a noun for idiotic actions, words, or ideas. It can also be spelled falderal. And with the two spellings it can be pronounced two ways, either /ˈfäldəˌräl/ (fall der all) or /ˈfôldəˌrôl/ (fole der ole). It is a mass noun which has no singular form. The o spelling is more commonly found. The term originated as a refrain in songs, literally "fol-de-rol". Folderol previously could be used in terms of a useless or idiotic item, and therefore you could have … [Read more...]

Heads up

Heads up is an interjection used when you need to warn someone to look out. A heads-up is the actual warning you gave the individual. This is commonly used in the phrase giving someone a heads-up. While the correct spelling includes the hyphen, actual usage suggests that it will become obsolete some day. Heads-up can also be used as an adjective to describe a person as being cautious or aware of surroundings. Keeping one's head up means to be watchful. Be aware that the verb head can also … [Read more...]

Content or contented

Content has two meanings which are separated by pronunciation. When the stress is placed on the first syllable (con tent), content means materials inside a container or the ideas presented in a speech or written work. These are both nouns. Content with the stress placed on the second syllable (cun tent), means to be happy or satisfied. It can be used as an adverb, adjective, verb, or noun. However, each of these forms has two variations (e.g., contently, contentedly, content, contented, … [Read more...]

Collectible vs collectable

A collectible is something of value either in a collection or to a collector. It can also describe something that is being collected on (i.e., due for payment). The spelling collectable is recognized as correct by the dictionary, though the i spelling occurs twice as often. This spelling variation extends to the derivative collectibility and collectability. In that form the preference switches to the a spelling, though not to such a degree as the adjective form. Examples The FTC said … [Read more...]


Stupefaction is the noun form for the state of being stupefied, which in turn means to be dumbfounded or surprised, or to cause someone to lose their wits or their ability to reason or process information. This noun does not a have a plural form. Stupefactions is incorrect. The peak in popularity for stupefaction occurred around the turn of the twentieth century and has been on a decline since then. The adjective form of stupefy is stupefying.  Most commonly this word is misspelled and … [Read more...]


A quay is a landing place built on the edge of a body of water, used primarily to load and unload items and people onto and from vessels. The plural is quays. It is only capitalized when it is part of a proper name. It is more commonly used outside of the United States, which prefers the term dock. The derivative quayage is the payment a customer would give to use a quay. This word can be pronounced three different ways (e.g., key, kay, and kway). Because of this, it may have a homonym … [Read more...]


A screed is a long, often boring, and sometimes angry letter or discourse. It is also a device, usually a piece of wood, that is used to level wet concrete or the thickness of a plaster wall. It is not a verb, or the past tense of scree, which is in fact a group of rocks on a mountainside. It comes from the same root as shred, namely the Middle English word screde, which was a strip of something or a small part. Examples Reeling in the wake of James' decision, Grant took Riley's offer … [Read more...]


Learning can be the progressive form of the verb learn, so that you are in the process of acquiring knowledge. Learning is also a synonym for knowledge, or information acquired and retained in someone's mind. It can be an adjective describing an object as something that will give the user more knowledge. Learnings is a pluralization of an erroneous form of learning as a singular noun. Said singular noun (e.g., a learning) does not exist, at least according to most dictionaries. Colloquially, … [Read more...]

Lie or lye


Lye is a harsh chemical used in making soap or washing solutions. The term was vastly more common in the 1800s (see ngram below) because people made their own lye at home. The process includes soaking hardwood ashes for days in water. The water becomes lye, which was then used to make soap. When it became more cost-effective to buy bars of soap in a store, the use of the word lye decreased.   Unfortunately, a common way to hear the word lye is in relation to a crime where someone … [Read more...]

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