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Strictly Speaking

Saying What You Mean


A word related to another by identity, or near identity. Therefore synonyms are erythrocytes in the life blood of a thesaurus. Ostensibly an inevitability of the diversity in the root languages of origin, the belief in modular identities can also become limiting, in suggesting that one word is as good as, or interchangeable with another. Almost never is this the case. Almost always, even words with convergent denotations have quite distinct connotations, and connotations are essential in calculating the way that a word will be heard and processed. A good example would be “policeman,” and “cop.” Read More 
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Ensure or Insure?


Spelled this way, and this way only, ensure means to take measures, actions, employ policies or provide economic incentives of such force and breadth that a desired result occurs. It is quite as different in meaning from insure as it is distinct in spelling. Insure means to offer and indemnity, usually monetary, in the event that an undesired action does occur. One word implies active measures, the other provides a contingency or compensation, an implicit admission by taking out insurance that something can, indeed, happen, in ways over which one cannot control. More often are the British right in the employment of this word, in spoken and written form, than are their American cousins. Read More 
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