What's the difference between:
1. Road and Street: A road usually runs between two more distant points, such as between two towns. A street is described as being a paved road or highway - in a city, town, or village, especially one lined with houses, shops, or other buildings.
2. Awhile and a while: As a noun phrase after a preposition such as after, for, in, within, one should use two words, a while. In that case, it means 'a short or moderate time'. If one is using the term adverbially, it should be spelled as one word, awhile, which means 'for a short time'. Examples of each are: I will stay for a while at the party. He napped for a while. / She stayed awhile at the party. I napped awhile on the couch. This topic is a fine point of grammar and for many uses only writing it will distinguish which syntactic structure one should use.
3. Blatant and Flagrant: Blatant refers to anything that is offensive, notorious, or shocking, especially in an obvious or conspicuous way. Something that is blatant is often obtrusive in a crass manner - and blatant can be used of persons and things. Flagrant refers to anything that is evil or wrong, a willful or glaring violation of a promise or flouting of law or morality. A flagrant offense or error is so bad that it cannot escape notice. Flagrant is definitely the stronger term.
4. Epidemic and outbreak: An epidemic is a disease that affects many people at the same time, such as the flu. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's official definition of epidemic is: 'The occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in a given area or among a specific group of people over a particular period of time'. The term outbreak describes the sudden rise in the incidence of a disease, especially a harmful one. An outbreak is characterized by a disease's bypassing of measures to control it.
5. Bug and Insect: Bug is loosely used for any very small creature with legs. However, a true bug is defined as belonging to the order Hemiptera. These creatures characteristically have tough forewings and lack teeth, such as beetles. True bugs have a stylet (a mouth shaped like a straw) that they use to suck juices from plants. Insects belong to the class Insecta and they are characterized by three-part bodies, usually two pairs of wings, and three pairs of legs, (e.g., bees and mosquitoes).
6. Cement and Concrete: Cement is any chemical binding agent that makes things stick to it or each other. Examples of cement are "glue," "mortar," and "paste." Concrete is a construction material consisting of cement, water, and some type of granular crushed material like cinders, gravel, sand, slag, or stone. When water is added to the cement and granular material, it activates the cement, which is the element responsible for binding the mix to form a solid object.
7. Literally and Figuratively: Literally means 'with truth to the letter; exactly' or according to the strictest sense of the word or words. Figuratively means 'by or as a figure of speech; metaphorically', or 'in a descriptive, analogous, but metaphorical sense of the word or words'. ( Literally most of my students were unable to understand figurative speech, I had to explain what this bumper sticker hanging in my room meant: Don't Make Me Release The Flying Monkees)
8. Vegetable and Fruit: A fruit is actually the sweet, ripened ovary or ovaries of a seed-bearing plant. A vegetable, in contrast, is an herbaceous plant cultivated for an edible part (seeds, roots, stems, leaves, bulbs, tubers, or nonsweet fruits). So, to be really nitpicky, a fruit could be a vegetable, but a vegetable could not be a fruit. When you go to the grocery store, fruits are those items regarded as those not used in salads and not generally intended for cooking.
9. Quality and a Characteristic: A quality is an 'inherent or distinguishing characteristic, a property, or a personal trait'. Quality denotes the character, disposition, or nature of something. A characteristic is 'a feature that helps distinguish a person or thing, a distinguishing mark or trait'. Quality is slightly more inclusive than characteristic. Characteristic's meaning is more about a distinction.
10. Data and Information: The term data refers to factual information, especially that used for analysis and based on reasoning or calculation. Data itself has no meaning, but becomes information when it is interpreted. Information is a collection of facts or data that is communicated. However, in many contexts they are considered and are used as synonyms. Data, by the way, is the plural of datum. Information comes from Latin informationem 'concept, idea' or 'outline'.
11. Supper and Dinner: Supper is a light evening meal - served in early evening if dinner is at midday or served late in the evening after an early-evening dinner. Either way, it is regarded as the last meal of the day. Dinner is the main meal of the day, served either in the evening or at midday. However, in certain regions of the US (New England in particular), the words are used interchangeably for the main evening meal. Okay, this is so true in our house, one day the kids came up with lupper, a combination of lunch and supper.
12. I.e. and e.g. : E.g. indicates an example; i.e. specifies and explains. Compare: She loves to read non-fiction, e.g., reference books and how-to books. / He had one obvious flaw, i.e. his laziness.
13. Passive and active sentences: Active vs. passive is dictated by the verbs used. For example, "Picasso painted a picture" uses an active verb. "The picture was painted by Picasso" uses a passive verb. You should generally avoid writing in the passive voice as it is a more roundabout way of writing and you should try to be direct.
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