You Think You Know Words?
What is your opinion of the use (and mis-use) of the following words? Which of these choices do you use – and how?
- flammable or inflammable
- between or among
- use to or used to
- disinterested or uninterested
- hard or difficult
- formally or formerly
- all told or all tolled
- oriented or orientated
Val’s Answers to Grammar Quiz #69
1. Don’t fret! Both flammable and inflammable mean the same thing.
2. Between involves just two things or people; use among for more than two.
3. Use is a verb that takes an object (You use a computer.) Used to is another verb that means “to acquaint with” (You are used to using a computer.)
4. Disinterested means to be “impartial”; uninterested says you have no interest at all, maybe because you’re bored.
5. Careful here; hard means you can bang on it and it won’t break. Difficult means “it won’t be easy”.
6. Two different words. Formally says you are dressed up; formerly says you used to do something – maybe dress up?
7. This is a spelling problem. The words are all told, meaning “everything is taken into account”. (A group of bells all clanging at the same time might invoke the use of “all tolled”.)
8. OMG, please forget you ever heard the word “orientate”. It’s one of those uber-linguistic words that sounds oh-so-very pretentious. Orient is enough!