conscience and consciousness can cause a good deal of confusion, due in some measure to the similarities in their spelling and pronunciation, so let’s have a proper look at them.
Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay
Conscience /ˈkɒnʃəns/ can mean one of the two things:
the part of your mind that tells you whether what you are doing is morally right or wrong; i.e. we can call it our inner moral compass.
I knew I’d done nothing wrong and so I told him the truth with a clear conscience .
If you’ve done something you shouldn’t and know it, you probably have
a guilty or troubled conscience.
Steve’s guilty/troubled conscience made him tell Anna he’d been cheating on her. Continue reading “Conscience Vs Consciousness”
Meter and metre. Isn’t it the same thing just spelt differently in American and British English? Well, yes and no.
Metre… Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay
meter is the American spelling of metre, a unit of length that equals 100 centimetres.
The fence is about a metre and a half high. (Note the British English spelling!)
In British English, however, a
meter is a machine that measures something, be it the amount of gas/water/electricity you’ve used or the amount of money you must pay.
… and meter. Image by analogicus from Pixabay
A few times a year Thames Water sends their engineers round to check water meter readings.
As the taxi was moving slowly through the traffic jam, she looked nervously at the meter wondering if she had enough money to pay for the trip.
This is a Pay and Display car park, but as the parking meter is broken you can park free of charge.
If you look up the word
enquiry in the online Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, you’ll see no definition but the following remark ‘ especially British English another spelling of inquiry‘. To find out what ‘enquiry’ means, you need to click on ‘inquiry’ in bold type.
Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay
This is another curious case. Both
enquiry and inquiry can mean question, inquest or investigation and be used interchangeably. However, in the UK there’s a slowly growing tendency to use inquiry to refer to the official process to find out about something,
The villagers are demanding a public inquiry into the fire that destroyed the local school.
whereas the use of
enquiry is becoming preferable to mean a question as in
I’d like to make an enquiry about your language courses.
enquiry and inquiry are likely to start living their separate lives, but until then you can use whichever you prefer ( inquiry is more widely accepted in American English).
Now you know!
electric and electrical are easy to confuse as they are very close in meaning. Close but not identical. So what’s the difference between them?
Image by Comfreak from Pixabay
electric to talk about things that need electricity to work, e.g. we say an electric guitar, an electric kettle, an electric car.
We bought a new electric cooker.
Electric is also used in an electric atmosphere (=full of excitement).
The atmosphere in the exam room was electric .
On the other hand,
electrical is used to refer to electricity-powered things in general as well as people whose job is to make or repair them.
This supermarket sells not only food but also clothes and small electrical appliances such as kettles, coffee machines and toasters.
We need a certified electrical engineer to rewire the house.
Hopefully, next time you need to choose between
electric and electrical, you’ll have no trouble picking the right one.
Efficient and effective share the first three letters but shouldn’t be confused as their meanings are very different.
Efficient means ‘working well, without wasting time, money or energy’.
My new car is more fuel efficient than the old one was and saves me about £50 every week.
Laura’s the most efficient PA (personal assistant) I’ve ever had: my business life is perfectly organised with every little thing running smoothly.
Effective, on the other hand, means ‘successful, having the right effect or solving the problem’.
These painkillers aren’t cheap but they’re extremely effective – your headache will be gone in seconds.
A string of pearls would look very effective with that dress.
Now you know!
has several meanings.
The one you’re certainly familiar with is
something you watch on TV or listen to on
the radio as in What’s your favourite
It can mean
a series of actions as in
The ambitious reform programme developed by a group of
independent politicians got no support from the government.
What’s the programme for tomorrow?
Another meaning is
leaflet that gives information about a play, concert etc.
She collects theatre programmes.
a set of instructions given to a computer, i.e. All word processing programs
these days have built-in grammar- and spelling-checkers.
There’s no such distinction in American English where one
program covers all of the
above mentioned meanings.
In English, there are quite a few pairs of adjectives one of
which ends in
and the other in -ed , for example, -ing excited/exciting, bored /boring, inspired/inspiring.
The adjectives in each pair are very different in meaning, and yet, as they
look so similar, English learners often find them confusing. If you too find it
difficult to use them correctly, then read on. Continue reading “-ed and -ing adjectives”
Efficient and effective share the first three letters
but shouldn’t be confused as their meanings are very different.
Efficient means ‘working well, without wasting time, money
My new car is more
fuel efficient than the old one was
and saves me about £50 every week.
Laura’s the most efficient PA (personal assistant) I’ve
ever had: my business life is perfectly organised with every little thing
Effective, on the
other hand, means ‘successful, having the
right effect or solving the problem’.
aren’t cheap but they’re extremely effective
– your headache will be gone in seconds.
A string of pearls
would look very effective with that
Now you know!