Today’s Monday Meanings is an interesting set of words.
Assure: speak positively to convince, make certain, make safe, ensure
The police will assure the family that all is being done.
The CEO will assure this job is yours once she returns from lunch.
Ensure: make certain, make safe, secure
Preparing a first aid kit will ensure a safer trip.
Insure: to guarantee or provide indemnity against harm or loss, usually in the form of money
I pay a premium so the company will insure my business against theft and fire.
insure is used where financial matters are involved - relate insure and insurance basically.
assure is mostly used on connection with people or other living things (a for assure and a for alive can help remember this one!) - ‘I assure you’ – and can be related to reassure
ensure is more about events and things – think of ensure as a guarantee that something will happen
Here are some examples for you to try the three words in…
Mary wants to ……. her business equipment.
Jane will …….. the blog posts are uploaded on time.
Ashton hastened to …….. staff that their jobs were secure.
The leader carried an extra blanket to …… the cubs were warm.
Comedy writers ……… readers of a laugh.
Not all companies will …….. a sole trader business.* Image courtesy of 123rf
Sometime [adverb]: a not defined time, unspecified time
I’ll finish the great Australian novel sometime.
Sometimes [adverb]: occasionally, from time to time
Sometimes business owners think about going back to having a job.
Some time [phrase]: a period of time
For some time I have been planning to write another eBook.
This trio is based on the same two words merged into one, or not, and all relate to time so the differences are subtle enough it isn’t surprising some people misuse them.
Left as two words to be the phrase, ‘some time’ is the most precise and considered of the three – and it has more precision required to separate the two words so maybe that will help remember when to use the phrase rather than an adverb.
While clearly pronounced differently, bizarre and bazaar are similar enough to cause confusion. Although it may simply be the spelling of each that confuses, rather than mixing the two up…
Bazaar [noun]: a marketplace with miscellaneous stalls and shops, especially in a Middle Eastern country; a shop or market selling a mixture of items; a stall or market where goods are sold as a fund-raising event
Mireille strolled through the bazaar while waiting for friends in Lebanon.
Bizarre [adjective]: odd, obviously out of the ordinary and different, far-fetched, unexpected
The teacher’s outfit was bizarre – a mix of cultures, colours and fabrics like I’d never seen before.
premier (adjective): first, especially for rank, time and importance
They supply only the premier business resources.
premier (noun): a political leader of prominence
Each Australian state has a Premier.
premiere (noun): the first public performance, usually relating to a play, music or movie
He was very excited to be invited to the premiere last week.
While premiere is very specific, the word premier can be used a number of ways – the adjective premier could even be use to describe the first performance although accepted usage indicates premiere as the preferred option.
Carrot: an orange coloured root vegetable from the parsley family and a good source of carotenoid nutrients including beta-carotene
Roast lamb isn’t the same without roast potatoes and carrots
Caret: a mark that indicates where text is to be inserted. In editing, it is ^ but on a computer screen it is usually >.
The fox jumped over ^log.
Carat (ct):a unit of weight used for gems and precious stones. It is a metric measurement based on 0.2 grams per carat.
A five carat opal weighs about one gram.
Karat (k): a measure of the purity of gold – pure gold being too soft for jewellery, it is mixed with other metals to make an alloy.
My necklace is 18k which means it contains 75% pure gold.
Telling them apart can be simplified. Carrot is the most commonly used version, and the only one likely to rot.
Caret is a very specific word that most people would rarely come across, especially as the word cursor is used more often in a computer sense.
As for carat and karat, carat refers to how much gemstone you have to carry (i.e. the weight) while a karat refers to the King’s gold!
I was alerted to this trio of words by my daughter, although it is generally just the first two versions that get used incorrecctly. First, here are the words in question:
Buy: to purchase something
I am going to buy a new laptop this week.
Bye: a farewell, shortened from goodbye. (Originally written as ‘bye to show it is an abbreviation, it is generally written as bye now)
They said bye to everyone outside then left the party.
by: to be beside , close to or in support of; within a time frame; in an opinion or according to
The mother kept her child by her side in the park.
I need to finish this by Friday
It’s not a complete definition by a long way.
The prefix bi also sounds the same, but is used as the start of other words (e.g. bicycle, bicentenary, bifocals, binary).
If none of the above helps you remember the difference, rember the u in buy matches the u in purchase.
Cite: to reference something and identify that source, especially in academic and legal papers
The lawyer decided to cite John’s affidavit but not Mary’s.
Site: a location or area
They had to clear the site before they could build on it.
Sight: being able to see; what is seen
She lost her sight after staring at the eclipse.
“What a sight!” said the hikers when they reached the mountain top.
The word cite is used less often in general conversations and probably doesn’t suit most business documents. But I do see site and sight being misused.
Think of site as a place where you can sit and it may help you remember which is which.
Calvary: the Crucifixion place for Jesus; also used to refer to crucifixion crosses and sites in general or to describe intense pain
The pilgrims went to Calvary in Jerusalem.
Unless you write or read a lot of Christian materials, you probably won’t come across Calvary so learning to spell cavalry alone may be enough!
Breath: the process of taking in air to get oxygen into the lungs; the air taken in or pushed out during breathing; small amount of air or wind
Taking a deep breath, she gave her manuscript to the printer
Breathe: the act of taking air into or out of the lungs. Also refers to letting air through a material (e.g. letting red wine breathe or choosing a fabric that can breathe)
It can be harder to breathe at high altitudes.
Angel: a heavenly being, often depicted in white with wings and a halo; a person with admirable qualities, possibly above most people’s
She was an angel, visiting us everyday for hours while I was bedridden.
Angle: the difference in position of two intersecting lines
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is on an unusual angle for a building.