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Could have, could’ve or could of

The expressions could have, could've and could of are confusing to some people. We will examine the definition of the terms could have, could've and could of, and which of these terms are considered grammatically correct. Could have refers to a possibility, the ability to fulfill something. Could have is often expressed as the contraction could’ve, especially in speech. Could’ve sounds perilously likecould of, however could of is not correct and should never be used. Contractions have been … [Read more...]

Renascence and renaissance

Renascence and renaissance are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation. Many find these terms confusing. We will examine the definitions of renascence and renaissance, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Renascence means a rebirth, a revival. Renascence usually refers to a rebirth of something that has been dormant for a period of time, or a reemergence of something that has gone out of fashion, and subsequently returned to popularity. … [Read more...]

Stand up vs prop up

Stand up and prop up are two phrases that some people find confusing. We will examine the meanings of the expressions stand up and prop up, the difference between them and some examples of their use in sentences. Stand up is an interesting expression with several different meanings. Stand up may be used as a phrasal verb to mean that an idea or statement will remain true under vigorous examination. For instance, unshakeable testimony may be said to stand up under cross-examination. The … [Read more...]

Far-fetched

The term far-fetched has been in use in its current sense since the 1600s. It is a compound word, which is a word formed by joining two words together in order to form a new word. We will examine the definition of the expression far-fetched, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Far-fetched describes something that is unlikely, something outside the realm of possibility, something that stretches belief. Something that is far-fetched is usually considered to be an … [Read more...]

Show of hands

The term a show of hands may be older than you think. We will examine the definition of the expression a show of hands, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The phrase a show of hands refers to a system in which a group of people quickly votes for or against something, or a group of people participates in a quick poll. A show of hands is informal, and is sometimes used to make a quick decision without actually counting votes. The term a show of hands is often used by … [Read more...]

Invention vs intervention

Invention and intervention are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of invention and intervention, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. An invention is a device, process or other item that has been created by someone. An invention is unique in some way, and has not been created by anyone previously. Invention may also refer to the process of creating such an item. The word … [Read more...]

Portend vs pretend

Portend and pretend are two words that are close in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of portend and pretend, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Portend means to serve as an omen or a warning, or to forecast something, especially something that is momentous or calamitous. Portend is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are portends, portended, portending, … [Read more...]

Booze vs boos

Booze and boos are two words that are pronounced in the same manner, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of booze and boos, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. Booze is an informal or slang term for alcoholic beverage, and may be used as a noun or a verb. Related words are boozes, boozed, boozing. The word booze is derived from the Dutch word busen which means to drink a lot. … [Read more...]

Wing it

The term wing it is an idiom that has been in use at least since the mid-1800s, and maybe even longer. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the expression wing it, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. To wing it means to improvise something, to perform, speak or accomplish something without preparation or forethought. The expression wing it … [Read more...]

Fox guarding the hen house

The idiom fox guarding the hen house goes back at least as far as the 1580s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the phrase fox guarding the hen house, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. The fox guarding the hen house describes a set of circumstances in which someone who should not be trusted has been chosen to protect someone or oversee a … [Read more...]

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