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Ignorance is bliss: What’s it mean and when should you use it?

Ignorance Is Bliss Broken Down Into the Sum of Its Parts To uncover the meaning of ignorance is bliss, let’s first look at the individual words that comprise this saying. Ignorance (noun): Ignorance is the state of being ignorant, or

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Et al: What’s it mean and when should you use it?

What is the origin of Et al? Et al is most commonly an abbreviation of the Latin phrase et alia, which means “and others,” with et being the Latin word for and and alia meaning others. It is also an

Then vs. than

Then vs. than: What’s the difference?

Beware of exceptions There is one exception to using the word than, which stems from its Old English and West Germanic roots. Nearly 417 years ago, it was common to use than in place of “when” “when as,” or even

Subjective vs. objective

Subjective vs objective: What’s the difference?

What is the difference between subjective and objective? The word subjective, or subjectivity, is used to interpret the way we understand information from our own point of view. A subjective perspective is one that is based on personal opinions and

Psychopath-vs.-sociopath

Psychopath vs sociopath: What’s the difference?

Examples of sociopath vs. psychopath Patients who display sociopathic traits are incapable of following social norms, although they can understand their own. Under Hare's definitions, we might find an example of a sociopath in the character of Dexter Morgan from

ie-vs-eg

ie vs eg: What’s the difference?

How are i.e. and e.g. similar? The terms i.e. and e.g. are Latin abbreviations used to clarify concepts within sentences while saving breadth for readers. After all, Shakespeare once wrote, "since brevity is the soul of wit... I will be

i.e.-meaning-2

i.e. meaning: Why, when and how to use it

What is Latin, anyway? Latin is one of the oldest languages used throughout several regions of the world and is first documented in Rome, Italy around the time of 753 BC. Latin has had a profound influence over the way

Empathy vs. sympathy

Empathy vs. Sympathy: What’s the difference?

Empathy is an experience of sharing one’s perceived emotions of another. We empathize with somebody based on our point of view and personal experience. Although we can come close to understanding how somebody feels in their circumstances, it’s impossible to

Toward vs towards

Toward vs towards: What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between toward and towards? The confusion surrounding the usage of toward and towards involves three primary editorial preferences: the geography of writing (i.e., British vs. American English), the Associated Press Stylebook, and formal academic writing. For casual

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Lay vs. lie: What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between lay vs. lie? Learning the difference between lay and lie is complicated because both irregular verbs are synonymous with each other in specific contexts. For instance, if we look up the definition of lay in a

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Capital vs. capitol

What is the difference between capitol and capital? We associate the word capital with several different definitions, such as word title case, locations of central government offices, the act of legally executing people, finances, etc. But the word capitol is

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To vs. too?

What is the difference between to and too? To and too are some of the most common words used in the English language, but they are also two of the most confused. Both terms are prepositions, which are the little

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Principal vs. principle?

What is the difference between principal vs. principle? There are very few instances in one's professional life that are less embarrassing than sending an important message to a supervisor or client, where simple English Language is misused. This is especially

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Which vs. that: What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between that vs. which? The confusion between that and which lies in their use as pronouns for a modifying relative clause. In a sense, we use these terms to shout out, “look here!” and to make our

additional

The Abbreviation for Additional: What Is It and How Is It Used?

How Do You Abbreviate the Word Additional? This word can be abbreviated in three common ways. The most popularly used abbreviation for additional is add’l., but other abbreviations include addt’l. and add. To use the correct additional abbreviation, you have

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The Abbreviation for Example: What Is It and What Does It Mean?

What Is the Abbreviation? There is one common abbreviation for the word example, derived from the Latin words exempli gratia: e.g. Example Noun In English, the abbreviation e.g. would be used to replace the phrase “for example.”  It’s one of

Alot or a lot?

What is the difference between alot or a lot? One of the most common mistakes in the English language involves the confusion between “alot” and “a lot." To make matters more tricky, there's also the verb "allot,” which is a

Lose vs. loose?

What is the difference between loose vs. lose? One of the most common mistakes English writers make involves mixing up terms like loose or lose. While we spell these easily confused words similarly, they're pronounced differently and have separate meanings.

Advice vs. advise?

What is the difference between advice vs. advise? Advise and advice are commonly confused words because they share similar definitions, spelling, and, often, pronunciations. But it's important to know that we use advice and advise in different parts of speech. 

Alot or a lot?

What is the difference between alot or a lot? One of the most common mistakes in the English language involves the confusion between “alot” and “a lot." To make matters more tricky, there's also the verb "allot,” which is a

Fiancé vs. fiancée?

What is the difference between fiancé vs. fiancée? The foreign words fiancé and fiancée are straight-forward when it comes to the English language because we use them to discuss one topic: marriage. Either term is gendered and adapted from the

What Does Bar None Mean?

What Does Bar None Mean? To understand the meaning of this idiomatic phrase, we must first look to one very specific definition of the word bar. In American English, bar can mean many different things and is used as many

A vs. an?

What is the difference between a vs. an? One of the most common grammar errors is mixing up indefinite articles a and an. Each article proceeds singular, noncount nouns to convey relationships between words in a clause. But the way

What Does Blood Is Thicker Than Water Mean?

What Does Blood Is Thicker Than Water Mean? This phrase is used to express the idea that family ties are more important than other social ties, i.e. friendships or romantic relationships; that family bonds, or those connections you have with

Breath vs. breathe?

What’s the difference between breath and breathe? If somebody said, “I thought my train my think,” you’d be quick to say, “don’t you mean, ‘your train of thought?’” Terms like think vs. thought are exactly like breath vs. breathe. While

Theatre vs. theater?

What is the difference between theatre vs. theater? If you’re watching a film, do you go to the movie theatre or movie theater? Do the words theatre and theater have different meanings for live performances? Understanding why the two terms

What Does Once Bitten, Twice Shy Mean?

What Does Once Bitten, Twice Shy Mean? You might expect this expression to be used when someone has been bitten, say by a dog or another animal. But that’s not the case. You see, as an idiomatic expression, this phrase

Aid vs. aide?

Aid vs. aide?

What is the difference between aid vs aide? It’s easy to see why aid and aide are commonly confused words. Either term describes the concept of assistance, whether it’s helping someone in need or contributing toward a cause. But although

Flier or flyer?

What is the difference between flier vs. flyer? The English words flier and flyer are simply alternate spellings of the same noun, but as an adjective, flyer can also have different meanings. The predominant way to use flier or flyer

Clip vs magazine?

What is the difference between clip vs magazine? If you’re writing about guns for any reason, it’s important to learn the difference between clips and magazines. Writers that misuse the terms clip and magazine risk communicating to their audience that

Less vs. fewer?

What is the difference between fewer vs. less? We use the words less and fewer to indicate a decreased amount of something in comparison to another, but we don’t use these terms interchangeably. According to Garner’s Modern English Usage, the

Was vs were?

What is the difference between was vs were? The words “was” and “were” are past tense forms of the verb “to be,” a word English speakers use more often than they realize. Whenever we use the terms are, is, am,

What Are the Most Cringe-Worthy English Grammar Mistakes?

1.  Run-On Sentences You may benefit from understanding the two types of run-on sentences—fused sentences and comma splices. A fused sentence occurs when you write an independent clause, then follow it with another independent clause without punctuation. When you separate

Canceled vs. cancelled?

What is the difference between canceled vs. cancelled? We’re all familiar with the word canceled. Homebodies love it, and type-A's hates it. But for everyone else, it's just another excuse to debate over English grammar.  The difference between canceled and

Affective vs. effective?

What is the difference between affective vs. effective? Next on our list of tricky everyday language are the words affective and effective. Both terms share similar pronunciations, spellings, and they help us describe other nouns. But if we’re describing a

How Many Words Did Shakespeare Invent?

Why Do We Credit Shakespeare? The Guardian quotes Shakespeare lecturer Dr. David McInnis: "The OED [Oxford English Dictionary], which saw its original volumes published between 1884 and 1928, includes more than 33,000 Shakespeare quotations...with around 1,500 of those 'the first

Fiction vs. nonfiction?

What is the difference between fiction and nonfiction? The terms fiction and nonfiction represent two types of literary genres, and they’re useful for distinguishing factual stories from imaginary ones. Fiction and nonfiction writing stand apart from other literary genres (i.e.,

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What Does No Quarter Mean?

What Does No Quarter Mean? In everyday conversation, the idiom no quarter means “no mercy.” Typically the phrase is preceded by a form of the verb give; you may also hear the expression used with some form of the verb

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Presume vs assume?

What is the difference between presume and assume? Whether you’re learning English as an ESL student or brushing up on your writing skills, learning the differences between presume and assume is confusing. Presume and assume share similar contexts, word origins,

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What Does the Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions Mean?

What Does the Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions Mean? In general, this common idiom and proverb expresses the idea that good intentions don’t necessarily guarantee good results, and that good intentions matter little—if at all—if they don’t

Supper vs dinner?

What is the difference between supper and dinner? Most people look forward to certain meals throughout the day, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Depending on where you live, you might use terms like brunch, high tea, or siu yeh.

Cannot vs can not?

What is the difference between cannot and can not? If someone is unable to do something, do you write “cannot” or “can not”? As it turns, you can use both! However, the word “cannot” is more common for English speakers

Has vs have?

What is the difference between has and have? The words “have” and “has” share the same root verb (“have”), which means “to obtain, possess, or maintain.” But since “have” is such an auxiliary verb, many English speakers struggle to use

Defence vs Defense: What’s the difference?

COMMON QUESTIONS Some of the common questions that these words may give rise to are as follows: – Do these words have different functions or different meanings in a sentence?Defence vs Defense - are they the variants of the same

Compliment vs Complement: What’s the difference?

WHAT ARE HOMOPHONES? Let’s begin by understanding what homophones are.  It’s a term in the English language that refers to words having the same pronunciation but completely different spellings and/or meanings. So, now that you know that compliment and complement

Ageing vs. aging?

What is the difference between ageing and aging? If you’re discussing someone that’s getting older, are they ageing or aging? As it turns out, both words are simply alternate spellings of the same word.  The main difference between aging and

What Does Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Mean?

What Does Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Mean? Although the expression originally did have to do with furry canines (more below), that’s no longer the case. When you hear or see it used today, it means “to ignore a situation or

Is vs are?

What is the difference between is and are? There are several confusing verbs in the English Language, but none are more tricky than “to be,” which contains eight different verb forms. “Is” and “are” are simply two of these forms,

May vs might?

What is the difference between may and might? May and might are modal auxiliary verbs that indicate a possibility, probability, hope, or a request. For instance, one “might” or “may” attend a concert. “May I?” and “might I?” are also

Wellbeing or well-being?

What is the difference between wellbeing and well-being? His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, once tweeted, “Compassion is concern for others–– sincere concern for others well-being founded on awareness of our experiences.” Whether you agree with the message or not,

Explicit vs implicit?

What is the difference between explicit and implicit? The words explicit and implicit may appear similar, but they actually have opposite meanings. As phrased by Merriam-Webster, the general definition of implicit is ‘to understand without words’ or ‘to possess no

Good vs. well?

What is the difference between good and well? Did you know that statements like “I’m doing good” are grammatically incorrect? If not, you’re not alone. Even the most seasoned writers make this common mistake due to ever-changing dialects. In general,

Systemic vs. systematic?

What is the difference between systemic and systematic? The adjectives systematic and systemic derive from the word system, which is either a ‘set of interdependent things that form a complex whole’ or a ‘set of organized principles or procedures for

Whilst vs. while?

What is the difference between whilst and while? English speakers have used the words while and whilst for hundreds of years. But when it comes to Modern English, many writers are unsure of when to use either term. The word

The Plural of Sky: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Why Is There a Plural for Sky? The sky is a very large amount of space. When talking about the great extent of the sky, it is appropriate to use the plural version of sky, which is skies. Often times,

The Plural of Curriculum: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

What is the Definition of the Word Curriculum As Merriam-Webster phrases it: The courses offered by an educational institutionThe high school curriculumA set of courses constituting an area of specialization The engineering curriculumThe biological sciences curriculumThe liberal arts curriculum History and

Either vs. Neither: What’s The Difference?

Definitions of Either and Neither According to Merriam Webster, both either and neither are a set of words that can become confusing when learning English. Using them in the correct context can take a bit of practice and in conversation,

Ax vs. axe?

What is the difference between ax and axe? The words axe and ax have different spellings, but they share the same pronunciation and meaning. For instance, we use an ax to split wood (noun), or we might ax down a

Conscience vs. conscious?

What is the difference between conscience and conscious? The words conscience and conscious are homophones, which means they have similar pronunciations but different spellings and meanings:  The word “conscience” is a noun that describes your inner-moral compass.“Conscious” is an adjective

Dreamed vs. dreamt?

What is the difference between dreamed and dreamt? Dreamed and dreamt are both past tense forms of the verb dream. The main difference between the two is that “dreamt” is the irregular past tense form, while “dreamed” is the regular

Hanged vs. hung?

What is the difference between hanged and hung? The words hanged and hung are past tense forms of the verb hang, yet they are different words with separate meanings. So what makes them different? Mostly death, actually.  What-to-know for hanged

Persons vs. People?

What is the difference between persons and people? If you’re talking about a group of people, should you use “persons” or “people”? Both terms are a plural form of person, but English speakers don’t always use them for the same