Do You Confuse Words?

nyplToday, on the New York Public Library website, they have a wonderful post on the common misuse of words—even by bookworms! I know it drives me crazy when reading Facebook posts that contain simple grammatical errors—don’t even get me started on incorrect words. But the NYPL has listed the 14 words most commonly misused, along with their proper meanings and when to use them.

Allude vs elude?

Indeterminate vs indeterminable?

These words and many more made the list. Do you use any of them on a regular basis?


Carmel vs. Caramel

I’m not going to say we have this conversation at work often because we eat a lot of candy, but is it pronounced “car-mel” or “caramel”?  The debate is on, and it turns out, it depends on where you live!

This is a great website that strives to show how word pronunciation differs, even just across the US. This is just the carmel/caramel example. Have fun looking through the maps.


Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

If you’re fluent in Latin, you’ll know what the title is all about. What if you just want to impress your friends? Here’s a handy list of Latin sayings that you can pepper into your daily conversation (I know I’m going to!).

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
– How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Sona si Latine loqueris. – Honk if you speak Latin.
Vacca foeda – Stupid cow
Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant!
– May barbarians invade your personal space!
Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
– May faulty logic undermine your entire philosophy!
Radix lecti – Couch potato
O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem!
– Oh! More! Go on! Yes! Ooh! Ummm!
Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem!
– Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial business.
Fac ut vivas. – Get a life.
Ventis secundis, tene cursum. – Go with the flow.

Have fun with it!

(Thanks to Dark Roasted Blend for the great list!)

Word as Image

Some people are so creative, it’s scary. Ji Lee is one of those people and with his latest project entitled Word as Image, Lee puts together a fascinating book of images, using only the letters in the words themselves. I can’t even imagine how challenging this must have been, and yet the results are simple and evocative.

If you visit his website, you’ll see many of his interesting projects, but Words as Image can be found under the link Independent Projects. Lee has a deep interest in images and words, as many of his projects challenge the viewer to look at something in a very different way.

Take a few minutes to look through some of the words you’ll find in the book. Truly creative!

But what rhymes with plankton?

We all know that nothing in the English language rhymes with orange ( even though one of my high school teachers tried to pass off  “door hinge” as an acceptable rhyme), but are there any other words that have no rhymes?  According to, there are 19 such words.

Along with bulb, and plankton, you can read the rest of the list here.  Can you think of any more?

A story the size of a postcard

I came across an interesting website recently called Postcard Shorts. It was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s very short story called “Quarantine”. Although it was a science fiction piece, the site itself boasts all kinds of work, from romance to westerns to literary fiction. But…the underlying idea here is that the stories are VERY short….whatever could fit on a postcard (about 250 words).

If you’re a writer, there’s space to upload your own story to the site. But if you’d just like to read a few good stories, you can either go through randomly or search by title.  Just note, the language can be a little rough at times, but some of the stories are very interesting. (I read quite a few and was surprised at how dark many of them were….deaths, murders etc., but then sometimes people just write about pleather pants!)

Short stories are difficult to create and I would assume that ones this short must really take into account that every word must hold meaning. No room for fluff.  If you’ve never written one, why not try your hand at writing 250 words and see if you can come up with something interesting and complete!