Robert_Haigh's entries

Here's the list of entries submitted by Robert_Haigh  — There are currently 33 entries total — keep up the great work!

pro-drop

The property of a language in which a sentence does not require an overt subject. Spanish is a pro-drop language: it is perfectly normal in Spanish to say No canto bien (Don't sing well) rather than Yo no canto bien (I don't sing well)....

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1 month ago

clipping

Clipping is a type of word-formation in which a short piece is extracted from a longer word and given the same meaning. Examples include bra from brassiere, gym from gymnasium, flu from influenza, cello ...

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1 month ago

Likeable vs. likable

Both spellings are acceptable in both British and American English, but British English strongly prefers likeable, while American English slightly prefers likable....

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1 month ago

dissent vs. dissension

These words are not equivalent. Dissent is disagreement with an opinion, especially with a majority view. Dissension is serious and persistent disagreement among a group of people, especially ill-natured disagreement which leads ...

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1 month ago

dissatisfied vs. unsatisfied

When you are dissatisfied you are disappointed, unhappy or frustrated. When you are unsatisfied, you feel that you need more of something. Only a person can be dissatisfied, while an abstract thing like hunger or a demand for goods can ...

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1 month ago

waste vs. wastage

The word wastage is not a fancy equivalent for waste. Waste is failure to use something which could easily be used. But wastage is loss resulting from unavoidable natural causes, such as evaporation....

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1 month ago

obsolescent vs. obsolete

Something which is obsolescent is dropping out of use but is not yet entirely gone, while something which is obsolete has completely disappeared from use....

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1 month ago

childish vs. childlike

Though childish is occasionally used neutrally to mean 'appropriate to a child', as in my childish efforts at drawing, it is much more commonly encountered as a term of contempt applied to an adult, as in the familiar  Don't be ...

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1 month ago

ketchup, catchup, catsup

In British English, ketchup is the only form in use. American English still uses all three forms, though ketchup is the recommended form for American writers....

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1 month ago

learnèd word

A word taken from a classical language. For example, instead of breakable, English often uses the Latin word fragile; instead of dog we sometimes use the Latin word canine; instead of saying that a disease is catch...

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1 month ago

diachronic

Pertaining to the time element in language; involving change in a language over time. A diachronic approach to the study of a language is the study of its development over a period of time....

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2 months ago

tag question

A brief question which is tacked on to the end of a statement. English uses two different kinds of tag question, both of somewhat complex formation. Consider the statement Astrid is Norwegian. One kind of tag question extends this stat...

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2 months ago

minor sentence

Any piece of speech or writing which does not have the form of a complete sentence but which is normal in context. Examples: "Any news?"; "No smoking!"; "Hello."; "As if I would know."; "Wow!...

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2 months ago

double negative

Any construction in which two or more negative words occur in a single clause. Examples 1: "I didn't see nothing" (= I didn't see anything); Examples 2: "No football team can't win no championship without no defenders" (...

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2 months ago

plurale tantum

 A NOUN which is invariably plural in form, even though it may be singular in sense. Examples include oats, cattle, remains, pants, scissors, binoculars, pyjamas, shorts and tweezers. Such nouns are awkward to count: we cannot say ...

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2 months ago

phoney vs. phony

Which spelling is correct? Both are acceptable. British English prefers phoney, while American English prefers phony....

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2 months ago

snicker vs. snigger

snicker is the American form, snigger is the British form. As simple as that....

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2 months ago

forbid vs. prohibit

These words have the same meaning but behave differently. We forbid someone to do something, but we prohibit someone from doing something. It is wrong to confuse the two. With a simple object, however, either verb may be used: "The police forbade dem...

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2 months ago

derisive vs. derisory

These words are, in some instances, interchangeable, but not in all cases. We commonly use derisive to mean mocking or contemptuous. Most authorities recognise derisory as an alternative here, although it is not recommended. More commonly, we use der...

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2 months ago

imposter vs. impostor

The spellings imposter and impostor are both widely used, and both are acceptable, but some authorities prefer impostor.  ...

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2 months ago

Bosphorus vs. Bosporus

Both Bosporus and Bosphorus are acceptable spellings for the narrow, natural strait and internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey....

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2 months ago

euphemism vs. euphuism

A euphemism is an inoffensive expression used in place of one which may be considered offensive or vulgar. But euphuism is an absurdly overblown and affected style of writing....

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2 months ago

saccharin vs. saccharine

The artificial sweetener is saccharin; the adjective meaning 'sugary' or 'excessively sweet' is saccharine....

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2 months ago

racket vs. racquet

 The bat used in playing tennis and related games is either a racket or a racquet. Both forms are standard, so use either. However, the game resembling squash is always rackets in British English but racquets in Ameri...

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2 months ago

show vs. shew

Professor R. L. Trask (Ph.D. in linguistics) has the following to say on show and shew: Except in quotations and in certain legal contexts, the spelling shew for show is now obsolete and should not be used. The past t...

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2 months ago

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