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Attic vs addict

  • Attic and addict are words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often confused in usage. Two words or more than two words may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure for learning commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables attic and addict, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

     

    An attic is a room or space at the top of a house or building, just under the roof. Synonyms for attic are garret and mansard. An attic may be a livable area like a room or an apartment, or it may be a space that is only suitable for storage purposes. The word attic only came into use at the turn of the nineteenth century, as an abbreviation of the architectural term, attic story.

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    An addict is someone who is compelled to use an illegal substance or to partake in a particular activity; an addict finds it almost impossible to refrain from partaking in his substance or activity of choice. The word addict only came into use at the turn of the twentieth century, as a back-formation from the verb addicted.

    Examples

    Fire damaged a Studio City home early Saturday morning, burning in the attic, walls and floor before being extinguished by firefighters in 32 minutes. (L.A. Daily News)

    Lo and behold, a trio of blue ceramic pieces from a nativity scene stared up at me, barely protected from the elements of the attic as they were uncharacteristically unwrapped and just sitting in a box without a top. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

    I found the 12 steps of addiction recovery in a way many addicts do: lost, desperate, broken, and looking for change. (Newsweek)

    A recovering drug addict is backing the Daily Record calls for the creation of legal drug consumption rooms as Scotland’s drugs death continue to rise. (Scottish Daily Record)


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