Clipped words are words that are shortened forms of longer words.
Common clipped words are :
- gym for "gymnasium,"
- phone for "telephone,"
- auto for "automobile,"
- and photo for "photograph."
Avoid clipped words in formal English.
Comprise or Compose?
Comprise means "is made up of" or "consists of."
The whole comprises the parts.
Compose means "make up" or "make."
The parts compose the whole.
- Incorrect: The rock is comprised of three minerals.
- Correct: The rock is composed of three minerals.
- Correct: The rock comprises three minerals.
- Correct: Three minerals compose the rock.
If you are confused, just say, "The rock is made up of three minerals,"
or "Three minerals make up the rock."
Continual or Continuous?
Continual means "repeated again and again."
Continuous means "uninterrupted."
Examples: I was continually interrupted by the telephone.
It rained continuously for forty-eight hours.
Credible, Credulous, Creditable, and Related Words
Credible is believable. It could refer either to a story or a person. The adverb form is credibly. The noun form is credibility. The opposite is incredible, not able to be believed.
Credulous is gullible. A credulous person is apt to believe nearly anything even with little evidence. The noun form is credulity. The opposite is incredulous, refusing to believe, skeptical.
Creditable is having or deserving credit, praiseworthy. The noun forms are credit and creditability. The adverb form is creditably.
Cult or Occult?
These words are sometimes confused because the expression a cult often sounds like the word occult. Cult most commonly means a religious sect organized around a strong leader and requiring beliefs or commitments not typical of other related groups.
It can also refer to a following of a particular religious figure or icon within an organized religion or a fanatical following of a particular entertainer, athlete, film, television show, or historical figure. Cult is normally a noun, though it can be used as an adjective meaning "having a cult following" as in ia cult film. Occultliterally means "hidden" and generally refers to the pursuit of some kind of magic or secret supernatural knowledge or power. It is most often used as an adjective but is sometimes used as a noun. The verb to occult means "to hide from view," and is used most commonly in scientific or specialized fields such as astronomy, navigation, or optics.
Indeterminate or Indeterminable?
Indeterminate means "vague" or "unclear."
Indeterminable means "unable to find out or decide."
Both adjectives have similar roots, but the difference is in the suffix -able.
Judicious, Judicial, or Juridical?
All three words have similar roots, but judiciousapplies to human character in general.
Judicial and juridical are more specifically connected with matters of law.
Judicious means "wise, showing good judgment."
Judicial means "relating to courts of law or judges."
Juridical means, more specifically, "relating to the administration of justice."
Examples: He judiciously invested in mutual funds.
Using Just and Only
When using the word just as an adverb meaning "no more than,"
place it directly in front of the word it modifies.
Similarly, place the word only directly in front of the word it modifies.
- Vague: Just give me three more days.
- Correct: Give me just three more days.
- Vague: I only have three dollars.
- Correct: I have only three dollars.
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