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Combine vs combine

The words combine and combine are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. 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 and how to use them in sentences, because they are easily confused. The way … [Read more...]

Hold all the cards and hold all the aces

Hold all the cards and hold all the aces are two idioms that mean the same thing. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase … [Read more...]

Doggie bag and doggy bag

Doggie bag and doggy bag are two spellings of an idiom that began, like most idioms, with a literal meaning. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion … [Read more...]

Caregiver or caretaker

Caregiver and caretaker are two words that appear to be antonyms, but they are not. These two words are etymologically related, but have two distinctly different definitions. We will examine the meanings of the words caregiver and caretaker, where these words came from, and some examples of their use in sentences. A caregiver is someone who provides services to someone who is unable to care for himself. A caregiver may support an elderly person, a handicapped person, or a chronically or … [Read more...]

Head on the chopping block and on the chopping block

Head on the chopping block and on the chopping block are idioms that have a literal origin. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than … [Read more...]

Court disaster

To court disaster is an interesting expression that many find confusing, and it may not be as old as you think. Many English expressions have a different definition than one might assume at first glance. We will examine the meaning of the verbal phrase court disaster, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences. To court disaster means to take unnecessary risks, to follow a course of action that may bring ruin, to walk a proverbial tightrope. The most common meaning of the … [Read more...]

Me vs mi

Me and mi are two commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are … [Read more...]

Drop a dime

Drop a dime is an idiom with an evolving definition. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase or expression that has a … [Read more...]

Ham it up

Ham it up is an idiom with roots in a term popular in the 1800s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often descriptors that are spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase or expression that … [Read more...]

Produce vs produce

The words produce and produce are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. 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 and how to use them in sentences, because they are easily confused. The way … [Read more...]

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