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In Other Words: A Few Less Common Words Of Wisdom

We’ve all seen certain words misused. We are used to being reminded of the problems so many folks have with words like ‘their,’ ‘there,’ and ‘they’re,’ as well as ‘wear’ and ‘where.’

Well, the other day a friend of mine was browsing the Internet and happened to run across a dating site. Just for fun, she read a few of the profiles and nearly died laughing when several fellows wanted a ‘discrete relationship.’ So, whether these will help you or the lovelorn out on the dating websites, here are a few more commonly confused words to watch out for.

Discrete/ Discreet

Discrete – separate and distinct
My honour and my ethics are not discrete characteristics.

Discreet – careful and unobtrusive
Let’s have a discreet relationship, because I don’t want my wife to find out.

 

Remunerate/Renumerate

Remunerate – to pay, like a wage
We remunerate staff at the end of each month.

Renumerate – (This is just not a word. It’s merely a common misspelling of the word ‘remunerate.’)

 

Peak/Peek/Pique

Peak – the point at the top, like the top of a mountain
Mt. Fuji’s peak was covered with snow.

Peek – a sneaky look at something
You’d better not peek at your presents.

Pique – (n) irritation or (v) provoke
The little boy threw a fit of pique.
This book has piqued my interest in nuclear physics.

 

Led/Lead/Lead

Led – to show the way (notice the past tense)
Kal led us to the conference room.

Lead – the metal
The huge book seemed heavy as lead.

Lead – (pronounced ‘leed’) to show the way (notice the present tense)
I will lead you to the promised land.

 

Whose/Who’s

Whose – possessive case of ‘who,’ used in a question
Whose scarf did you accidentally pick up?

Who’s – the contraction of ‘who is.’
Who’s going the store today?

 

Nuclear/Nucular

Nuclear – having to do with the nucleus of an atom
Will nuclear power ever be viable?

Nucular – (This is not a word. It is a common misspelling of ‘nuclear.’)

 

Disc/Disk

Disc – having to do with media like CDs, DVDs, etc.
Hand me the software disc, please.

Disk – thin, round object
I think I have a slipped disk.

 

Faze/Phase

Faze – disturb or disconcert
Their bad behaviour didn’t faze me a bit.

Phase – a specific period or stage
The flower is in its budding phase.

 

Sight/Site

Sight – having to do with vision
The building was a real sight with all those decorations.

Site – a location
The building was being constructed on a reclaimed dump site.

 

The problem with some of these words and their misuse is that sometimes we don’t even know a different spelling or word exists. Hopefully you learned a new word or two and won’t make the mistake of having a discrete relationship on a dating sight.

 

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© 2013 Shirley Taylor.
Shirley Taylor is a recognised leading authority on business writing and communication skills. For almost 30 years she has presented keynotes and training programmes that help people and organisations boost communication skills and develop great relationships both orally and in writing. Shirley is bestselling author of 12 books, including Model Business Letters, Emails and Other Business Documents, which has sold half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into many languages. If you would like Shirley to speak at your next event, visit www.shirleytaylor.com.

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