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Friday, February 8, 2019

Similar But Different

Refrain / Sustain

Refrain means to hold back; sustain means to hold up.
e.g. You have to refrain from making any noise.
e.g. Can you sustain the silence?


Common: shared or used by many; commonplace: ordinary and not very interesting.
e.g. Smoking in an enclosed area is common nuisance.
e.g. To be healthy and wealthy is a common New Year’s resolution.
e.g. Running may be a commonplace sport for many.

Approve / Approve of

means pgive consent to; approve of means think well of.
e.g. Your proposal will not be approved by the committee.
e.g. We approve of our daughter’s marriage to that promising young man.

A few / Few

A few: not many with a more positive meaning; few: not many with a more negative meaning.
e.g. A few people might ask for your help (some, not too many).
e.g. We were disappointed that only few people showed up (hardly any).

Defuse / Diffuse

Defuse: decrease the danger, such as deactivate a bomb; diffuse: spread over a wide area.
e.g. It is difficult to defuse the conflicts in the Middle East.
e.g. Once you open the bottle of fragrant herbs, their scents will diffuse.

Read Peruse

Readlook at and understand; peruseread thoroughly.
e.g. Don’t just read through the document; you have to peruse it to see if there is any hidden code.

Masterful Masterly

determined, strong-willed, like a master; masterly means having good skills.
e.g. He has demonstrated that he is a masterful personality.
e.g. This is a masterly piece of performance

cause someone to suffer; inflict: punish or put a burden on someone.
e.g. For years, he has been afflicted with muscle pain.
e.g. The tyrant had inflicted punishment on those who opposed him.

Accountable to / Accountable for

Accountable to: responsible to someone; accountable for: responsible for something
e.g. The Manager has to be accountable to the Board; he has to be accountable for all his business decisions. 

Farther / Further

Father:  refers to greater distance; further:  with more or greater intensity.
e.g. Our new house is farther from the lake than from the river.
e.g. The demonstration only led to further racial tension. 

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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