I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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How bizarre’s your bazaar?

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. 


I’ll throw your throne

I spent a lot of time yesterday running around and throwing balls at kids (mostly during games of poison ball with Cub and Joey Scouts) so this pair of words came to mind for today’s Monday Meanings. It’s certainly a pair of words that would look very strange when used in the wrong way.

Throne [noun]: a seat reserved for use by a monarch; a large, ornate or imposing seat
Everyone stood as the Queen approached her throne.
A giant throne dominated the grass near the car park. 

Thrown [verb – past participle of throw]: having propelled an object through the air, generally by an abrupt arm or hand movement; caused a fall; confused (common speech use)
The ball was thrown five times before Jack could catch it.
The cowboy was thrown from his horse when a snake crossed the path.
“I was thrown by the word buoy in that sentence,” she said

If you need a way to tell these words apart, remember that a throne is for one special person.

Have you ever seen these two words misused?

Contemplate these meanings

Despite the similarity in spelling for today’s words, they have very different meanings.

contemn: [verb] scorn, disregard, feel contempt for
He seems to take price in his ability to contemn new performers. 

contemplate: [verb] consider, envisage and observe consistently about a likely or probably action or outcome
A wise person will contemplate all options before making an important decision.


The word contemn is not used a lot, but some people question whether it was the intended word in line two of The Ode (part of For The Fallen by  Laurence Binyon and used in ANZAC and other remembrance services around the world):

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

It appears that Binyon did intend to use the word ‘condemn’, but ‘contemn’ would also fit in there. Which word gives the better message to you?

Is your presents required?

Unfortunately, I came across the following sentence online last week:

It is true that having an online presents is very important, however it is just as important to have a real life presents.Ribboned boxes present presents nicely

So today’s Monday Meaning is aimed at correcting that sentence, and preventing it ever being written again!

presents [noun]: something given to another; a gift
The pile of presents reached the branches of the Christmas tree. 

presents [verb]: the act of handing over and introducing something or someone
The compere presents each nominee before the awards are announced. 

presence [noun]: the existence or occurrence of someone or something in a particular place
The contract must be signed in the presence of two adult witnesses. 

To remember which is which, think about the presents you have been sent.

Console foreign dignitaries…

Another pair of words that could lead to embarrassment if used in the wrong way…

consul: [noun] a State agent in a foreign place, usually to represent the state in that foreign place
 I contacted the Australian Consul about voting when I was in Europe last year.

console: [verb] comfort and make someone feel better; [noun] control panel or switchboard of electrical equipment; [noun] cabinet or frame supporting equipment such as a TV or stereo
Family and friends gathered around the widow in an attempt to console her.
The sound technician pored over the console to find the error and restore sound. 

Pause to check the meaning

My daughters recently had a confusing conversation because of the incredible similarity between today’s Monday Meanings – sunscreen and skin care mixed in with dogs was a bit strange so here are the actual meanings for you!

paws: [noun] feet of a clawed animal. [verb] touch in a clumsy or dirty way
The mouse pulled thorns from the lion’s paws. Their dog paws me every time I wear white to their house! 

pause [noun]: a period without action or noise
There was a pause in the meeting while lunch was served.

pores: [noun] a tiny opening in membranes such as skin. [verb] be intent and focussed
A facial will open up your pores. He pores over his book whenever Mary goes out.

pours: [verb] to make something flow, such as out of a jug; a heavy flow, such as of rain or events.
Joan always pours the tea before the coffee. We will cancel our hike only if it pours in the morning.

Not so easy to show you how to remember which is which, other than that wild animals may have paws and jaws to watch out for! Do you have a way to tell pores/paws/pause/pours apart?

Oral or aural , spoken or heard

The spelling and pronunciation are different, as are the meanings, of these two words but they are all similar enough to be misused without most people realising.

aural: [adjective] related to the ear or the sense of hearing
An aural learner may study better by reading notes out loud or discussing the concepts.

oral: [adjective] the mouth or related to the mouth
His oral presentation was fanatic but his written report was poor. Babies putting everything into their mouth is known as the oral stage of development.

You may be able to remember which is which by thinking of the O you make with your mouth being oral.

Wrongs meanings can eclipse the message

A clear and simple message will always bring better results than a complicated or confusing message. However, even if your message is clearly written, one misused word can cloud the message and make it hard to understand or sometimes give the opposite meaning to your intention.

Make sure you know the meanings of eclipse, ellipse and ellipsis as you can eclipse your message by mixing them up!

ellipse: [noun] an oval shape
My daughter calls an ellipse a squashed circle!

ellipsis: [noun] a set of 3 dots to signify missing words
As a sole trader, Sally keeps all the profits… and accepts all the risks. 

eclipse: [noun] loss of light or splendour, generally due to something coming between the light source and the eye. Common use is mostly about the sun or moon but it can be used for other situations
Huddled in a corner, they froze as the hunting man eclipse plunged them into darkness. 

Note that ellipsis has more dots (as in “dot your i’s”) and means using 3 dots, and an eclipse includes a c for clouding over, and you’ll be using your words wisely!

Take counsel from the council

In business, you may well have to deal with your local council for registrations, permits and various services.

Yet are you sure of the spelling of council? Some spelling mistakes will be corrected by a spell check but sometimes it will lead you to writing counsel instead which will totally change the meaning of your sentence – make it completely meaningless.

council: [noun] an administrative or planning body or committee
The local council is responsible for assigning industrial and business zones in our area.

counsel: [verb] to discuss and debate, advise, talk over; a person’s views or intention
A business coach or mentor can counsel you about your priorities and objectives.

To remember which is which, think of the self involved in counsel.

Resolve your new resolution

It’s early January and new years resolutions are still being discussed and worked on so today’s definitions are inspired by the word resolution…

resolve: [verb] decide upon (alone or as a vote), solve, analyse
After hearing all the evidence, the judge will resolve the custody question.
[as a noun, it means being steadfast, sticking to a course or showing mental resolution and strength]

resolute: [adjective] being determined, consistent, staying on track, focussed, purposeful
Hamish was resolute throughout the year and became due of his school.

resolution: [noun] something resolved or decided on, a formal decision or opinion from a meeting, solution to a question
The committee passed the resolution after only fifteen minutes.
[as a verb, it means resolving, deciding, analysing or  solving]

So you need to be resolute to resolve an issue and make a resolution. (Don’t say that too many times in a row!)