Category: Vocabulary

Command | A word a day

To command is to order, instruct, direct or require. The king commanded his guards to execute anyone who dared to enter his chamber. Note the word pattern: command + noun/pronoun + to-infinitive The father...

Bereaved and bereft

The words bereaved and bereft are used in entirely different ways. Bereaved refers to bereavement (losing someone you love to death). Bereft refers to other kinds of loss or dispossession. Note that both bereaved and...

A half, half a or half an

The expressions a half, half a and half an are all completely acceptable. Could I have half a pound of oranges? / Could I have a half pound of oranges? Joe has half an apple....

Hang, hung and hanged

The word hang has two basic meanings. We can hang a picture or another object. It is also possible to hang a man. The past tenses are different for the two meanings. Pictures or drapes...

Confident and confidant

These words are often confused.  A confidant is a trusty companion, or intimate friend. You can confide your personal thoughts and feelings to your confidant. The feminine gender of this word is confidante. You...

Conscience and conscious

Conscience means moral sense, ethical feelings or one’s sense of right and wrong. His conscience wouldn’t let him steal. Note that conscience is spelled with science at the end. Conscience is a noun; conscious...

Contemptible and contemptuous

Many people confuse the words contemptible and contemptuous. Contemptible means despicable. If something is contemptible, it is deserving of contempt.  Spreading gossip is contemptible.  All terrorists are contemptible.  Contemptuous means feeling contempt for someone...

Congenital and hereditary

The words congenital and hereditary are often confused. They have slightly different meanings. Congenital means those traits, marks or defects that one develops before or during birth. Congenital defects, for example, are not inherited...

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast have different meanings. Do not use compare as a synonym of contrast. We compare things of the same kind or class. For example, we can compare an orange with another orange,...