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Showing posts from April, 2009

Foreword and Forward

These are two often-mistaken words. Some people believe that there is only one word, forward , which means 'ahead', 'toward the front', etc. They believe the same word is used to denote 'the introductory note' of a poetry or anthology. Some other people believe the word for introductory note is foreward . No, there are two words, foreword and forward . Foreword comes from two words, 'fore' and 'word' (not 'for' and 'ward' or 'fore' and 'ward'), which hence means, a word that comes before other words, an introductory word or a collection of words that form the introduction. That's why the word, foreword means 'introductory note'. Forward has several meanings, but only one of them corresponds to a noun. It's always an adverb, adjective, or a verb, but not a noun (except in football (soccer for Americans)). Here are the meanings: Adjective: ahead, toward the future, at the front, lacking disc

Literally, Practically, and Virtually

It's literally freezing in there. It's practically freezing in there. It's virtually freezing in there. You may have seen sentences similar to these used every now and then. The words, literally, practically , and virtually , are all used in these instances to convey emphasis to what's being said. For this need for emphasis, literally and virtually were originally used a lot, but somehow practically also found its way to this and is getting popular. But despite this common meaning, each of these words has its specific place in English; let's see it now. 1. Literally: Literally has actually held the meaning, "in a manner that accords with the literal sense of the words", as the American Heritage Guide tells. In that sense, we should not be using literally in the sentence above. But it went on to be used as a word for emphasis and stayed so. But actually, literally should not be used when a metaphor is present, as in the above sentence. A way to k

Artist and Artiste

Artist, pronounced in the same way, can mean "creator or performer of any kind of art form". Another meaning the word is applied to is "a deceitful person". There is a separate word, 'artiste', in existence, which in popular belief is the feminine form of 'artist'. But it is not true. An artiste is either a professional performer or someone wanting to be recognized as having artistic talents. This word is pronounced, 'arteest'. According to Oxford, previously artist was not used for the meaning of 'performer of art'. But now that the word covers both meanings, artiste has almost gone out of use or finds use only in the most formal of occasions.

Ain't: An Old Usage That Still Sustains

I ain't going to no school today. She supposed that she ain't his lover anymore. Though Jack insisted, Jill ain't moved the garbage. As evident from these three non-standard sentences, including the double-negative one, 'ain't' is a tried-and-tested short form for pretty much all of the auxiliary verbs, except the modal auxiliaries. 'Ain't' was originally conceived in the 1700s, as a better usage of 'an't', which was the shorter use for 'are not' and 'am not'. These usages underwent their share of criticism over the centuries, for being non-standard and inelegant. But it found profuse usage even among the people of the upper class. The user needn't worry much about grammar rules since 'ain't' can be used for both plural and singular forms. There is nothing wrong in using 'ain't' in fiction dialogs and informal conversation, but stick to the standard auxiliaries in all formal occasions.

Birth of Born and Borne

There is quite a bit of confusion among readers about the words, 'born' and 'borne', both past participle form of 'bear'. Let me clarify in this post. To mean 'to give birth to a child', we associate the term, 'bear'. But this word has a lot of other meanings, such as 'tolerate', 'to carry something', 'to support something or somebody', 'produce something', etc. These examples will show you the use: She thought she could bear her boyfriend's child. His class couldn't bear his lousy lectures anymore. My apple trees bear the best of apples in the entire state. The word 'bear' has two past participle forms, associated with 'to give birth' meaning. They are 'born' and 'borne'. These two should be associated with two different meanings as below. 1. Use 'born' if you are talking about the child, in a passive sense. My father was born in the middle of the last cen

A List of Medical Terms for Phobias (Fears)

When was the last time you climbed a fifty story building and looked at your street from the very top? When was the last time you sat inside your well closed home, alone? When was the last time you crossed the street? Have you been frightened by any of these experiences? There are fears everywhere, and so the medical community has interesting terms to refer to each. There are fear of loneliness, fear for great heights, fear for darkness, and fears you may think far more ridiculous, such as the fear for naked bodies and sex. In this article, let's delve into some of the technical terms for these fears. The fear terms are suffixed by phobia , which is the Greek term for 'fear'. Acrophobia—Fear for great heights Aerophobia—Fear of air drafts, flying, and some airborne substances Agateophobia—Fear of insanity Agyrophobia—Fear of crossing streets Ailurophobia—Irrational persistent fear of cats Algophobia—Fear of pain Apiphobia—Fear of bees Arachnophobia—Fear of spider

Egg White Is Albumin or Albumen?

Despite their difference in meanings, albumen and albumin are two words still used wrongly by many people. Let's clarify this confusion in this post. The word historically used to refer to the white part of the egg is albumen. This arises from a Latin word, albus , which means 'white'. In Latin, you will also find the word albûmen to mean 'egg white', with a pronunciation mark on top of 'u', which is called a macron diacritic . The word albumin is an entirely English word, which has no connection to Latin word above (at least directly). It refers to a water-soluble protein found in many plant and animal tissues, including and prominently in the egg white or albumen. That's how it gets its name. The suffix, 'in' is used to indicate that the protein is a neutral chemical compound.

Software for Tracking Manuscript Submissions

Once you start into creative writing and novel publishing, you may have to send many many typescripts to various publishers or literary agents. You need to track these submissions somehow. Keeping a list, spreadsheet, or a notepad of submissions will soon tire you out. Here is a better way. A software program, made just for this task: Sonar Submission Tracker . The important thing to note is this software is completely free. May it be short stories, novels, or novellas, or even articles to article directories or freelancing websites, Sonar can track their progress pretty well. Here is a screenshot of Sonar: Using this program, creating list of submissions and tracking their details is pretty easy. Go ahead and download the app free. If you like it, try more applications from Spacejock, which are all free, and give a tiny donation to the website. You can read my other review about Spacejock writing software, yWriter here .

After Death or Anno Domini?

In the Western calendar, we have three distinct forms for talking about epochs, AD, BC, and CE. All three are used with reference to the time of Jesus. BC is the time before Jesus was born, and hence expands to "before Christ". While "before Christ" is pretty meaningful, many expanded AD naturally as "After Death". But this isn't true. AD stands actually for a Latin phrase, "anno Domini", which translates as "in the year of the Lord". About one and a half millennia ago, a Romanian priest and scholar, St. Dionysius Exiguus caused this convention. One more thing you need to notice is AD is usually prefixed to the year, while BC is suffixed, as in: AD 500, and 43 BC. In BC epoch, the years are decreasing, so 54 BC comes before 3 BC. It decreases to 1 BC, and then starts the AD epoch, with AD 1. Another convention to talk about the current epoch, called the Common Era, CE, was started by atheistic scholars and writers who felt

Word Tips: Engaged Men and Women

"Oh! My fiancée is so cute!" shouted the woman. Now, if you know correct English and you read this sentence, you will think that the woman is a lesbian. There's no possible explanation for having a fiancée, who is a betrothed woman . The word for an engaged man is fiancé, without that 'e' at the end. So the first sentence should be, "Oh! My fiancé is so cute!" Fiancé: Betrothed man Fiancée: Betrothed woman Both these words are pronounced, 'fee on say'. The plural forms are simply 'fiancés' and 'fiancées'. Don't forget the acute diacritic sign above the letter, 'e'. Etymology These words originate from the French verb, 'fiancer', which means 'to become engaged'. So, you see, both these words originate from the French language, in which they are still strongly in use.