Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Problematic Prose (Part I)
It's about the time again...though random and intermittent as it is. Wordsmith Wednesday!
Today I want to talk about the oftentimes problematic use of the following:
Okay, here we go!
Continual vs Continuous:
The word continual means something happens on a regular basis, but not at all times. The word continuous indicates an occurrence without breaks.
~The continuous beat of my heart keeps me alive.
~A continual routine of exercise makes it beat longer.
Disinterested vs Uninterested:
Believe it or not, these two are not interchangeable. Disinterested indicates indifference. Whereas uninterested means you simply don't care.
~Because Jill is a disinterested editor, she can make corrections without being biased.
~Jill didn't want to edit the latest sci-fi because she was uninterested in the plot.
Further vs Farther:
This is one of those I have to think about each time I use it. The word farther indicates a physical distance. The term further refers to a length of time, degree, or anything else but time.
~The farther we traveled from home, the further I fell into sadness.
Discrete vs Discreet:
Ohh, tricksy ones these are! Confession: Until recently, I'd never considered there was a difference. Sad, I know. Anyway, discrete means separate or distinct. Discreet means private, prudent, or circumspect.
~Interesting characters, good pacing, and a unique story line are discrete factors in a great book.
~To avoid spoilers, one should be discreet in discussing the novel.
Hanged vs Hung:
This one is pretty easy. Things are hung. People (who are executed) are hanged.
~A rope was hung around his neck before he was hanged.