Choose Your English (iv)


connote / denote
Do not let the rhyme fool you — to connote is to imply a meaning or condition, and to denote is to define exactly. Connote is like giving a hint, but to denote is to refer to something outright.

conscious / conscience
Both words have to do with the mind, but it’s more important to be conscious, or awake, than conscience, or aware of right and wrong. Remain conscious while listening to your friend’s moral dilemma so you can use your conscience to give good advice.

contemptible / contemptuous
Something contemptible is worthy of scorn, like the contemptible person who denies there are no facts to be known about morality; but contemptuous is full of it, like the contemptuous look you give that guy as he speeds away in his gas guzzler.

continual / continuous
The words continual and continuous are like twins: they both come from continue, but they get mad if you get them confused. Continual means start and stop, while continuous means never-ending.

council / counsel
A council is meeting for discussion or advice, but to counsel is a verb meaning to give advice. They sound exactly the same, but the language council met and decided to counsel you on how to keep them straight.

See other: Choose Your English

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