Tag Archives | words

CHOOSE THE FAMILIAR DEFINITION

I noticed that mother began to materialize around the edges of the copper vessel. Did that sentence startle you? Confuse you? Baffle you? You might be surprised to know that it is a completely legitimate and accurate statement. It’s not unusual for mother to appear when someone is making alcoholic beverages, and it has nothing […]

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HOMONYMPHOBIA

The English language may be complex, but it offers users an expansive vocabulary. The benefit of that isn’t the ability to impress people with five-syllable words; it’s the remarkable precision that all those words make possible. But English also has convoluted rules of phonetics. And one place people – including professional writers – tend to […]

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AL FRANKEN AND RUDY GIULIANI AGREE?

John Kerry is a smart guy. No question about it. But the reason he’s still a Senator and not a President may have more to do with his choice of words than his political stances. At least that’s what Dr. Frank Luntz suggests, and I’m inclined to agree. Folks as dissimilar as Al Franken and […]

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What you say, what they see

One of my favorite stories about word choices is the one about the hospital that decided to open a walk-in clinic to compete with local freestanding clinics. The medical staffers who served on the hospital’s board chose to call it an “ambulatory” clinic, because to medical folks, “ambulatory” means that an individual is capable of […]

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