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Convocation, commencement or invocation

Convocation, commencement and invocation are three words that are similar, but have different meanings. They are often confused. We will examine the differing definitions of the words convocation, commencement and invocation, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A convocation is a large, formal gathering of people to take part in a special purpose. A convocation may involve an assembly of clergy, academics, or members of another institution. A convocation … [Read more...]

Shake one’s head vs nod one’s head

The terms shake one's head and nod one's head have been in use for hundreds of years, and the exact etymology is unknown. These expressions mean two different things, though their definitions are becoming blurred. We will examine the definitions of the phrases shake one's head and nod one's head, their probably origin and some examples of their use in sentences. To shake one's head means to move it from side to side with a subtle twist of the neck. This is a gesture in most of the … [Read more...]

Halitosis

Halitosis is a word that was coined from a Latin root word and a Greek suffix. We will examine the meaning of the word halitosis, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. Halitosis is a word that means bad breath, an unpleasant smell or fetid odor coming from one's mouth. There are many causes of bad breath or halitosis due to the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Dental problems including a build up of plaque or tartar on teeth and gums, cavities or tooth decay, … [Read more...]

Chow vs ciao

Chow and ciao are two words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing. Pronunciation may change, even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. English words are also spelled … [Read more...]

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

The road to hell is paved with good intentions is an English proverb with a murky origin. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that gives advice or shares a universal truth. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the proverb himself. We will examine the meaning of the proverb the road to hell is paved with good intentions, some probable inspirations for the phrase, and some examples of its use in … [Read more...]

If vs whether

If and whether are two words that may sometimes be used interchangeably, but are not always interchangeable. If and whether are conjunctions, which are words that connect two or more sentences, clauses, or parts of clauses. Some of the most common conjunctions in English are and, because, but, for, nor, so, until, when, and yet. Understanding the parts of speech such as verbs, nouns, pronouns, adverbs and adjectives in grammar will improve your English communication skills. Grammar is the way in … [Read more...]

Benchmark

Benchmark is a word that began with a literal meaning, but has come to also have a figurative meaning. Benchmark is a compound word, which is a word derived from two separate words used together. New compound words usually consist of two, separate words, and are called open compound words. Midway through their evolution, compound words may acquire hyphens between the two words. When a compound word such as benchmark becomes a closed compound word, which consists of two words joined without any … [Read more...]

Bezel vs embezzle

Bezel and embezzle are pronounced in a similar fashion. The two words seem to be related, but they are not. We will examine the definitions of bezel and embezzle, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences. A bezel is a rim or ring that holds the crystal, glass, or lens in place on a watch, flashlight, compass, or other item. The word bezel may also be used to mean the rim or ring that holds a stone in place. A jewelry bezel is made of a metal like yellow gold, … [Read more...]

Level playing field and level the playing field

Level playing field and level the playing field are two idioms that have been in use since the latter 1900s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, … [Read more...]

Pass the torch and hand on the torch

The idioms pass the torch and hand on the torch came into use in the 1800s, though they have their roots in ancient Greece. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a … [Read more...]

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