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Abuse vs abuse

  • Abuse and abuse  are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. These word pairs are often misused words. Heteronyms exist because of our ever-changing English language, and these words with the same spelling and different pronunciation and meaning are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that look the same but are not pronounced the same, and how to use them in sentences, because they are easily confused. The way the pronunciations and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling and misuse by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word tear meaning a liquid drop that falls from an eye is derived from the Old English word tear, meaning a drop or nectar; tear meaning to pull apart comes from the Old English word tearan, which means to lacerate. Heteronyms are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced differently but are spelled the same and come from a different etymology. They are often used in puns and riddles. When reading, it is sometimes difficult to know which word is being used in a sentence and how to pronounce the word phonetically. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check for these commonly confused words but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a heteronym in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Do not confuse heteronyms with homophones, which are two or more words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings like sow and sew; do not confuse them with homonyms, which are words that have the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings like spring as in spring forth and spring as in the season of the year. Heteronyms are a type of homograph, which is a word that is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning. We will examine the definitions of the words abuse and abuse, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

     

    Abuse (uh BYEWS) is a noun that means a cruel practice or using something improperly. Abuse can come in the form of aggressive language, mental mistreatment, or physical or sexual torture. Abuse may also mean using a device improperly as to render it inoperable or to cause it to wear out prematurely. The word abuse is derived from the Latin word abusus, which means misused or using up.

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    Abuse (uh BYEWZ) is a verb that means to be cruel or do something improperly. It is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are abuses, abused, abusing, abuser. The word abuse also comes from the Latin word, abusus.

    Examples

    A WHO staffer and three Ebola experts working in Congo during the outbreak separately told management about general sex abuse concerns around Diallo, The Associated Press has learned. (AP)

    Dawn Floyd, who is a breast cancer survivor and has established a foundation to help struggling women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment, said children and parents alike are sometimes afraid to speak out when abuse is happening. (Detroit News)

    “I’m not going to stop that because of people, either historians who think they are trained, or people who want to abuse me, that won’t stop me.” (Edinburgh Evening News)

    They allege that PSUSD was told in 2004 by a parent that Moncada had abused a 7-year old but the district did not contact law enforcement. (Desert Sun)


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