DO YOU KNOW THEIR DIFFERENCES?
Decorative / Decorous
Decorative: having an artistic or showy effect.
e.g. The ballroom with all the ribbons and flowers are very decorative.
Decorous: showing good taste.
e.g. The movie star looks decorous in that simple but elegant dress.
Foul / Fowl
Foul means dirty or offensive.
e.g. The smoke from that factory fouls the air. (as a verb)
e.g. He always speak foul language, even in the presence of ladies. (as an adjective)
Fowl is a bird, such as hen.
e.g. We are going to have a roast fowl for Thanksgiving.
Pretense / Pretension
Pretense is to make believe; pretension is a claim
e.g. He made no pretense to like her (He did not pretend that he liked her).
e.g. She made no pretension to that award. (She did not say she got that award)
Genteel / Gentle
Genteel: well-bred, polite; imitating the lifestyle of the rich.
e.g. Your friend is genteel. Is he really rich?
e.g. All along he has been living in genteel poverty. He is not practical.
Gentle: soft and well-behaved.
e.g. He is a gentleman: he is especially gentle with the ladies.
Terminable / Terminal
Terminable: can be ended.
e.g. Your job is only temporary and terminable at any time.
Terminal: at the end.
e.g. The doctor told the patient that she had terminal cancer.
Ingenious / Ingenuous
Ingenious is clever; ingenuous is natural, free from deceit.
e.g. I must say that was an ingenious way to steal the money.
e.g. His response was sincere and ingenuous.
Lose / Loose
Lose means being unable to find.
e.g. Here is your ticket to the game; don't lose it.
e.g. Don't lose your temper (become angry).
Loose means to set free or to become less tight.
e.g. You are too loose with your children (you have little or no control over them).
Providing that / Provided that
Providing that is incorrect.
e.g. You can go out to play provided (that) you have finished your home work.
e.g. You can keep the book for another week providing that no one has reserved it (incorrect: provided that should be used instead).
Bulk / Hulk
Bulk: in large quantities; the greater part of.
e.g. His business was selling brown rice in bulk.
e.g. The billionaire gave the bulk of his estate to charity.
Hulk: a big, clumsy person.
e.g. If you do nothing to your obesity, you will soon become a hulk.
Some time / Sometime / Sometimes
Some time means a period of time.
e.g. We have been waiting for the bus for some time.
Sometime, as an adverb, means approximately; as an adjective, means former or occasional.
e.g. She was my sometime girlfriend.
e.g. Why don't you visit me sometime?
Sometimes, as an adverb, means now and then.
e.g. Sometimes we are on good terms, and sometimes we are not -- that's our relationship.
Accountable to / Accountable for
Accountable to someone; accountable for something (meaning "responsible for").
e.g. The Manager has to be accountable to the Board; he has to be accountable for all his business decisions.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau