Specious vs spurious

For something to be specious it has to appear to be correct or true, but in reality is false or incorrect. There is a slight connotation of it being related to appearances, that the specious item has an allure that is untrue. Its derivatives include speciously and speciousness. Spurious, on the other hand, is something that is founded on illogical reasoning or false facts. It can be something that is similar in appearance to something else, without being the genuine item (e.g., drugs). … [Read more...]


  Inculcate is a verb which means to attain a habit or attitude by repetitive teaching, instilling or internalizing the instruction so it becomes part of the student. Similar to brainwashing without the pejorative connotation. The term is much more commonly found outside the United States. It makes inculcates, inculcated, inculcating, inculcation, and inculcator. Examples The nationwide cleanliness drive launched today is aimed at creating awareness among the people of the country so … [Read more...]


Foist is a verb which means to make someone or something accept something that he or she does not desire. It comes with the connotation that the acceptance comes by trickery or falsehoods. A slightly alternate definition is to pass something off as real or of value. A foister is someone who foists things. Examples Viewers have long wanted to pay only for the channels they watch, not the bundle that cable companies foist upon them. [Business Insider India] So if you can’t get what you … [Read more...]

Lesser or lessor

Lesser describes something has being smaller than something else, or having less of a certain quality. Not to be confused with fewer. Lesser is an adjective that is used before the noun it modifies. To be lesser-known is somewhat famous, but not of wide acclaim. Lessor is a person who leases their property. It is commonly used in reference to airplanes. It has two pronunciations in British English with the stress being allowed on either syllable. In the United States it has only one accepted … [Read more...]

Loop de loop or loop the loop


The dictionary lists a loop-the-loop as a thrill ride that sends its passengers in a complete 360 degree circle. It is more commonly used to describe anything doing the same movement. A plane can loop the loop in the sky when turns in a vertical circle. It follows the general rule of phrasal verbs that are hyphenated when used as a noun or adjective but separate words when used in verb form. The word loop comes from the Scottish Gaelic lùb which means to bend. Other phrases which … [Read more...]

Spat or spitted

A spit is a stick which holds meat or other items over a fire, usually to allow the food to turn while it is roasted. Spit is also another word for saliva or the fluid made by one's mouth. It can also be a small bit of land which leads into a body of water. To spit is to propel something (usually saliva) from your mouth or to put something on a spit (i.e., impale). If you put something on a spit this morning, you spitted it, you can also be spitting a pig for dinner. If you ejected … [Read more...]


News is a mass noun which means information that is just received or significant somehow. It is also an adjective used to describe things and people which find information to share with others. It has no plural form. One could count items of news or news sources, but not news itself. News has a quite few derivatives, such as, newspaper, newscast, newsperson, newsworthy, newshound, newshawk, newsmagazine, newsletter, newsmonger, and the adjective newsless. A newshound or newshawk is a … [Read more...]

All of a sudden or all of the sudden

The official phrase approved by dictionaries is all of a sudden. The phrase dates back to Shakespeare in The Taming of the Shrew, though oddly the variant all of the sudden was in print six years before Shakespeare. The word sudden itself means at once or without warning, and all of a sudden is a long way to say suddenly, they are interchangeable. Grammatically speaking there is little difference between using the article a or the. However, dictionaries side with Shakespeare. Another archaic … [Read more...]


A powwow is an American Indian social gathering, which usually includes dancing and singing. In previous centuries it was also a time when they gathered to discuss things that pertained to the whole tribe. Today, it is mainly for social reasons. The powwow can last for days. It's plural is powwows.  It is sometimes spelled with a hyphen or as two words, but this is incorrect. The term has come to be used for any gathering of people who need to talk about a particular topic that will … [Read more...]

Hands on or hands-on

As an adjective hands-on should be hyphenated. It describes something as using one's hands or being learned by physical action rather than theory. The compound is sometimes confused in the phrase be hands-on, however, since one can be an adjective, the hyphen is still used. A similar, though unrelated, verb is to hand on or to pass along something. In the second person this verb makes hands on, however, the distinction between the adjective and the verb should be clear from context. One … [Read more...]

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