Academy Award Winning Movies In A Language Other Than English Word Confusion: Majorly Misused Words

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Word Confusion: Majorly Misused Words

Often people misuse words by choosing a word that looks or sounds similar to the word they want to use. Often people mishear words or hear words instead of reading them and then use those words in the wrong context. But even skilled writers make mistakes where they use the wrong word, intend to use another word, but when their brain searches for the intended word, a word comes up that is so close that the author puts it on the page and then corrects it later, the author’s eye may miss the wrong word, because the brain mind replaces the correct word in its place, deceives the eye.

Below is a set of seven sentences with words that are often misused or used casually, but not corrected for similarity. See if you can identify which sentence is correct for each example below.

Example 1

  1. I was rewarded with high cholesterol as a result of my eating habits.
  2. I was rewarded with high cholesterol as a result of my eating habits.

The correct answer is 2. An award is something that is given to you as a result of an achievement, such as an Oscar or an achievement award. A reward is perhaps best known as something given to you for turning in a wanted criminal “dead or alive”, so the meaning is close, but if you think of it as a result of your actions, then you earn a “bounty”. Generally, the “reward” is something physical or at least tangible, like a trophy, while the “reward” can be the result of an action you take, such as eating junk food that results in high cholesterol.

Example 2

  1. Today, he is involved in the treatment of poliomyelitis.
  2. Today it is associated with the treatment of poliomyelitis.

The correct answer is 2. To contribute is to give something. To be “relative” to something is to admit to being related to it. Another example can be: “I gave the book as a gift to the library” in the sense of giving or gifting the book. However, “The author of the book is attributed to the Greek poet Homer” the credit/credit for writing the book goes to Homer.

Example 3

  1. Once there was a shock.
  2. After the shock wears off.

The correct answer is 2. Subsidy means to decrease or go down. Dwelling is living together or being together. Here’s a sentence that uses both words: “The flood receded around the city where they lived. In this case, the people live (dwell) in the city where the floodwaters rose but are now receding (slowing).”

Example 4

  1. He passed me on the highway.
  2. He passed me on the highway.
  3. It’s time for the movie to start.
  4. It’s time for the movie to start.

The correct sentences are 1 and 3. “Past” refers to time, and “to pass” is to move beyond something. The confusion arises because “past” is also the past tense of “past.” If you’re not sure which to use, remember that “passed” is always a verb. “Past” is the past tense of a verb or a noun meaning “past,” which is the opposite of the future tense. In sentence 4 above, since the verb is “is”, it describes the “past” tense as an adjective; therefore, as a verb, “passed” cannot be used to describe anything, because it is not an adjective. If you’re still not sure which word to use, try substituting the words “beyond” or “before.” If any of these words would work, then “past” would be correct in this sentence, but perhaps it would be better to just use “beyond” or “before” in its place. For example, “The past winner of the contest was Joe” would allow “before” to replace it, or “I’m over it” would allow “because” to replace it, but you can’t say “He’s beyond me.” highway.”

Example 5

  1. Everyone was invited except Mary.
  2. Everyone was invited to receive Mary.

The correct sentence is 1. “Except” means “to make an exception” and can simply be replaced by “but”. By comparison, “accept” is a verb and really means the opposite of “except.” “Exclude” means to exclude, whereas if you “accept” something, you would include it. As a verb, you can use “accept” to say “I have accepted the job offer”, but there is no word like “except” that you can use in this situation.

Example 6

  1. I don’t believe the prophecy is true.
  2. I don’t believe the prophecy is true.

The correct sentence is 1. I rarely see the word “prophecy” used at all, and as a result I see “prophecy” often misused. “Prophecy” is a noun. This is someone’s prediction about the future. “Prophecy” is a verb, and prophesy is the act of predicting. Here are a few sentences that use both words; note that because “prophesy” is a verb, it has more than one form: “The prophet made one prophecy. He will make another prophecy tomorrow, or so prophesied.”

Example 7

  1. As the police detective peppered the criminal with questions, the criminal felt nervous.
  2. As the police detective bombarded the criminal with questions, the criminal felt frustrated.
  3. When the police detective bombarded the criminal with questions, the criminal felt uncomfortable.

Sentence 3 is correct here, and please note that the word “employment” is missing, but I’ve seen it in print several times. People either misunderstand, mishear, or confuse the words “annoyed” and “disappointed” into a new word. It’s kind of a fancy new word, because one can feel both “annoyed” and “frustrated,” but they’re two separate feelings. In the example above, the offender must feel “irritated”, i.e. he is nervous and has trouble answering questions because he is nervous. It’s possible that the detective doesn’t listen or believe her, she might be disappointed, or she might just be annoyed that she’s being brought in for questioning, but either way, confused is the best word choice here.

A rule of thumb to remember is that when the two words sound close together, it’s always better to ask someone else to proofread your work for you because you’re so close to your material that your mind can play tricks on you. In some cases, you may also find that you have been misusing a word for a long time, so you may want to look the words up in a dictionary to make sure you are sure of their meanings and definitions. It’s never too late to learn more about English, and there’s no shame in asking another writer you can trust to check your work and give you suggestions.

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