Effective writing requires the correct use of words, which sometimes may be confusing to writers.
Sensual / Sensuous
Sensual: related to the body; sensuous: related to the five senses.
e.g. It is difficult to be spiritual when one focuses too much on sensual pleasures.
e.g. The painter is able to provide some sensuous images in his painting.
Common / Commonplace
Common: shared or used by many; commonplace: ordinary, not unusual.
e.g. English is a common language used in Europe.
e.g. Nowadays, carrying a gun is commonplace.
Habitable / Habitual
Right / Rightly
Right: immediately; rightly: justly, correctly.
e.g. Do it right now.
e.g. Do it right away.
e.g. I rightly canceled the trip.
e.g. We refused the offer, and rightly so.
Defer / Infer
Defer: give way or yield to; infer: conclude.
e.g. He is a good kid: he always defers to his parents' wishes.
e.g. We can infer from your statement that you don't like this policy.
Mediate / Meditate
Mediate means to act as a peacemaker; meditate means to think deeply.
e.g. The Secretary of State is trying to mediate between the two warring nations.
e.g. He meditated revenge after he was insulted by his coworkers.
Potent / Potential
Potent: strong, powerful; potential: power that could be, but is not yet.
e.g. He is a potent politician.
e.g. He has great potential in American politics.
Compare to / Compare with
Compare to: state a resemblance to; compare with: put side by side to find out the similarities and differences.
e.g. The poet compares living in this modern world to riding on a bullet train.
e.g. If you compare Plan A with Plan B, you will know that Plan B is much better than Plan A.
Reverend / Reverent
Reverend: worthy of respect; reverent: showing respect.
e.g. Have you met the Rev. Mr. Johnson?
e.g. He gave a reverent speech on drug addiction.
In regard to / As regards
Both mean with reference to.
e.g. As regards your performance, I think you did a good job (no “to”).
e.g. She is very generous in regard to charity donation.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau