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Bonhomie

Bonhomie is a term that many find confusing. Bonhomie is a loan word. Loanwords and loan phrases are terms that have been taken from other languages and used as English words and phrases. Another term for a loanword is a borrowed word. Loanwords and loan phrases come into the English language when English speakers come into contact with other languages and cultures. When loanwords and loan phrases first enter the English language, they are used by bilingual speakers and usually maintain the … [Read more...]

Monkey on one’s back

To have a monkey on one's back is an idiom that has been in use for over a hundred years. 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, even when the … [Read more...]

Dangling modifier

A dangling modifier is a grammar mistake that makes it difficult to understand what the writer or speaker means. It is an incorrect usage of a modifier which is a word or phrase, particularly an adjective or adverb word or phrase, that enhances the meaning of another word. A modifier is a descriptor, meant to provide accuracy in communication. We will examine the definition of dangling modifier, some examples of this grammar mistake and some ways to avoid the dangling modifier. A dangling … [Read more...]

Don vs dawn

Don and dawn 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...]

Infraction vs infarction

Infraction and infarction are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of infraction and infarction, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences. An infraction is a violation of the rules or the law, an infringement upon the rules or the law. Infraction is a noun. The verb form is infract, though it is rarely used. Related words are infracts, infracted, infracting. The word infraction is … [Read more...]

Selfie

Selfie is a relatively new word, though it is known and used the world over. We will examine the definition of the word selfie, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A selfie is a photograph of oneself, a self-portrait, usually taken with a smartphone or webcam, that is then shared through social media such as Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, etc., usually with a hashtag. Some people earn their living by taking selfies with their cell phones, posing with products … [Read more...]

NGO vs GMO

NGO and GMO are abbreviations known as initialisms, which are initial-letter abbreviations that are pronounced as letters rather than words. Initialisms are almost always rendered without periods. NGO and GMO are sometimes confused, so we will examine the definitions of these expressions, where they came from and look at some examples of their use in sentences. NGO is an initialism that stands for non-governmental organization. NGO describes an entity that is not dependent upon a government … [Read more...]

Lair vs layer

Lair and layer are two words that are pronounced in the same way 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 according to their … [Read more...]

Bucket list

Bucket list is a one of those rare terms in English with a definite etymology. We will examine the definition of the expression bucket list, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences. A bucket list is a list of things a person wants to do, learn or experience before he dies. Items on a bucket list may be considered life goals. These items vary from person to person, and bucket list ideas may include something to accomplish or an achievement such as obtaining a doctorate or … [Read more...]

Say when

Say when is primarily an American idiom that has been in use since 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. 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, even when the etymology or … [Read more...]

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