Author Topic: Confusing Pairs  (Read 114 times)

Offline Binoy

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Confusing Pairs
« on: July 10, 2019, 03:17:12 PM »
Confusing pairs are those words which spell or sound almost similar but they have different meaning or usage. Since they are tricky in nature, the users may easily commit mistake while using them if they are not extra careful. Here the readers will find some important confusing pairs of words of the English language.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 03:24:35 PM by Binoy »

Offline Binoy

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Re: Confusing pairs
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2019, 03:20:53 PM »
continual / continuous
ক্রমাগত, চলমান


The words continual and continuous are like twins: they both come from continue, but they get mad if you get them confused. Continual means start and stop, while continuous means never-ending.

Continual things come and go, like arguments or rain. If your parents' continual arguing drives you crazy, just be glad they stop sometimes! With continual rain, you'll get some sunny breaks, as Ireland's forecasters like to say. Or in this bit about the birth of Lynyrd Skynyrd:

    There were continual battles between authority figures like Skinner and the free spirits who formed the band. (herald-review.com)

Continuous, on the other hand, is nonstop. If the young Skynyrds had a continuous argument with authority, they'd never stop, not even to sing "Free Bird." With continuous rain, you'll never see the sun. A flight or a wire can be continuous:

    Jongeward and Woodhouse ended up breaking the record for continuous flight. They stayed in the air for 1,124 hours. (Yuma Sun)

    A telegraphic signal would go more than seven times around the earth in one second if it travelled on one continuous wire. (Elmer Ellsworth Burns)

Continual is chronic, like a cough that comes and goes, or a teenager's sporadic fights with The Man. Continuous is like a circle, or a nightmare carousel that never ever stops. Neither one is the evil twin; they're both moody.

Offline Binoy

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Re: Confusing pairs
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 03:24:05 PM »
amuse / bemuse
আনন্দ দেওয়া / বিভ্রান্ত করা


People often use the word bemuse when they mean amuse, but to amuse is to entertain, and to bemuse is to confuse. In Alice in Wonderland, the White Rabbit amuses Alice as he frolics, but then the Cheshire Cat bemuses her when he tells her to go two directions at once.

To amuse someone is to make them laugh or otherwise keep their attention. It's often used in the negative — if someone says that a joke does not amuse her, duck before you get slapped. In the movie Goodfellas, a tough guy says darkly, "...I'm a clown? Do I amuse you?" Here are friendlier examples:

    There's nothing spellbinding left to amuse our children. (Forbes)

    This was fashion as theater and an often amusing way to end Paris Fashion Week. (New York Times)

To bemuse is to confuse or muddle, and it's almost always in the form bemused. It sounds like that other word, but it's not as fun to be bemused. These examples get it right:

    Another father seemed bemused that his son had been taken in by the police after he went for a walk on Saturday.  (BBC)

    In the past, reviews of Bosco's dazzlingly vivid apparel and sneakers have ranged from admiring to bemused to scathing. (New York Times)

    The passengers, bemused at first, were quickly won over once they realized who was performing. (Time)

It's no wonder people get them mixed up — both words are derived from the French word "muse." It's just like a French muse to entertain and confuse us all in the same root word.

Offline Binoy

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Re: Confusing Pairs
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2019, 03:26:17 PM »
objective / subjective
বস্তুনিষ্ঠ / ব্যক্তিনিষ্ঠ


Anything objective sticks to the facts, but anything subjective has feelings. Objective and subjective are opposites. Objective: It is raining. Subjective: I love the rain!

Objective is a busy word and that's a fact. An objective is a goal, but to be objective is to be unbiased. If you're objective about something, you have no personal feelings about it. In grammar land, objective relates to the object of a sentence. Anyway, people often try to be objective, but it's easier for robots. Here are examples:

    "DNA testing and fingerprint analysis and all that technology stuff is objective, they declare confidently. The machine cannot be fooled." (Salon)

    "Consider checking in with a third party, to get an objective opinion." (Wall Street Journal)

Subjective , on the other hand, has feelings. Anything subjective is subject to interpretation. In grammar land, this word relates to the subject of the sentence. Usually, subjective means influenced by emotions or opinions. Humans are a subjective bunch and we like it that way! Here's subjective in the wild:

    "Because many of the decisions we made are subjective, there is the possibility of human error in our data set." (Slate)

    "Now, I realize that is totally subjective because there is no standard unit of measurement for fun." (New York Times)

It's true that opposites attract. Here are some examples of both words cozying up in the same sentence:

    "But now we, as a pathologists, need more objective measures because symptoms, to a certain degree, are subjective." ( Time)

    "We take our unruly, subjective feelings about a year of television and groom them into something that looks mathematical and objective." (Slate)

Be objective when writing things like summaries or news articles, but feel free to be subjective for arguments and opinions.

Offline Binoy

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Re: Confusing Pairs
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2019, 03:29:30 PM »
didactic / pedantic
শিক্ষামূলক / পাণ্ডিত্যপূর্ণ


Both words relate to teaching, but didactic teaches a lesson and pedantic just shows off the facts.

Didactic describes anything that tries to teach a lesson, sometimes a moral one. People don't always want a lesson. Didactic comes from the Greek didaktikos for "apt at teaching." Although being didactic is perfect for a teacher, it can be annoying when movies and books get into teacher mode. See below:

    "Being Here is tough to absorb in one take, and it borders on being too didactic." (New York Times)

    "It's not didactic or propagandistic in its approach, but it's honest. It makes you want to know more. It makes you want to get involved." (Washington Post)

Didactic also refers to a method of teaching that involves repetition:

    "This is unnecessarily repeated, but fortunately such didactic intrusions are kept to a minimum." (Los Angeles Times)

The word pedantic is from the Italian pedante for "teacher." What a coincidence. Teachers aren't usually pedantic, but sticklers are. Pedantic music snobs list twenty bands from Iceland that you have to go listen to now. Pedantic grammar nerds say to never split an infinitive. Pedantic is not a compliment. Check out these examples:

    "Tristram Shandy makes fun of nearly everything, but especially the pompous and pedantic." (Slate)

    "I know that some readers may find my language-stickler columns pedantic, or, even worse, tedious." (The Guardian)

    "Readers responded: They found this arbitrary, arrogant, pedantic and just plain wrong." (Washington Post)

It's cool if a teacher leads a didactic discussion on Hamlet, but it's not cool if the teacher's pet takes over with a pedantic rant about how it should always be referred to as The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

Offline Binoy

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Re: Confusing Pairs
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2019, 03:32:08 PM »
pragmatic / dogmatic
বাস্তবসম্মত / একগুঁয়ে


If you're pragmatic, you're practical. You're living in the real world, wearing comfortable shoes. If you're dogmatic, you follow the rules. You're living in the world you want, and acting a little stuck up about it.

Pragmatic people have their feet on the ground and their heads there, too. No time for dreaming! They're realistic. A pragmatic approach to something is the sensible one. A pragmaticway to fix a bike is to use the tools you have rather than the ones you wish you had. Examples:

    "The academic and political atmosphere in the 1990s was decidedly pragmatic, rather than optimistic." (The Guardian)

    "Clinton, meanwhile, focuses on the pragmatic instead of the aspirational, using her experience as a guide to what can get done." (Salon)

    "Shoes were thick-soled, while bags were pragmatic large backpacks." (US News)

Dogmatic people are very firm their convictions, which usually come from some authority. The authority is often religious, but it doesn't have to be. Anything dogmatic is by the book. If you're dogmatic, you're 100% sure of your system despite evidence to the contrary. Dogmatic can also mean close-minded. Check it out:

    "That is, if they can get past the dogmatic denial of man-made climate change." (Washington Times)

    "We need more such balanced analyses, and fewer dogmatic opinions, on both sides." (Nature)

    "When I became a cardiologist 30 years ago, I was pretty dogmatic about the low-fat, low-cholesterol diet to prevent heart disease." (Washington Post)

Pragmatic people know what time it is. Dogmatic people tell you what time it should be.

Offline Binoy

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Re: Confusing Pairs
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2019, 03:34:26 PM »
parody / parity
হাস্যকর অনুকরণ / সমতা


They're different, but when these words are said out loud it's hard to tell them apart. A parody is a silly spoof and parity is equality, and that's no joke.

A parody turns making fun of something into an art form. Imitating the way someone talks or writes is a parody. Broken down into its Greek roots, it's para for "beside," and ode as in "song," which forms paroidia for a "burlesque song or poem." A parody isn't as risqué as a burlesque, but it's definitely supposed to be funny. Here are some examples of the word:

    "He's also a professed fan of the 1960s spy parody ‘Get Smart.'" (Washington Times)

    "The online parody shows a player pretending to be J.J." (Los Angeles Times)

    "From a Saturday Night Live hosting gig to a parody Twitter account, the ‘Girls' star is everywhere." (Time)

When there's parity, things are even-steven. Parity means equality. It even has Latin roots in par, which means, of course, equal. If a scale is balanced, there is parity.

It's used in finance:

    "She said she thinks the euro will fall below parity against the U.S. dollar in the coming year." (Wall Street Journal)

In social contexts:

    "None of this started out as a fight over gender parity, but now that it looks like one, you can be sure women will notice."

And sports:

    "In most seasons, parity usually expires some time around November as the league's usual suspects take control." (Wall Street Journal)

They word parody probably has more fun than parity, which just likes to even things out. But there is parity between these words; they are both awesome.

Offline Binoy

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Re: Confusing Pairs
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2019, 03:37:30 PM »
abhorrent / aberrant
ঘৃণ্য / ব্যত্যয়ী


Abhorrent describes something truly horrible like finding a dead rat in your soup, but something aberrant is just abnormal, like a cat in a pink fedora.

Abhorrent means disgusting or detestable. When you abhor something, you loathe it. Its Latin root means, "to shudder, recoil," which is what you do when faced with something abhorrent like a zombie, or in these examples: 

    She said sanitary conditions in the emergency room were abhorrent. (Seattle Times)

    If I thought monarchy abhorrent, for example, I would not seek British citizenship. (Washington Times)

Aberrant (no "h") means unusual, straying from a defined path. It's not necessarily nasty. It's from the Latin, aberrantem, "wandering away." It's related to err, a mistake, through Old French and Latin. If a behavior is aberrant, it's just not normal:

    Weeks ago the nation witnessed the culmination of aberrant fan behavior when Bryan Stow was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. (Newsweek)

    Upstairs the show gives way to delicious aberrant moments, like the gallery kitted out in beige walls and chunky red molding. (New York Times)

    Illinois citizens will be subjected to another round of descriptions of aberrant behavior by a governor who freely dropped the f-bomb. (Quad-City Times)

If you can remember that the err in aberrant indicates an error and that you abhor something that is abhorrent, your word choice will be neither aberrant nor abhorrent. Wearing a feather boa to a funeral? Aberrant. Stealing the body? Abhorrent.