Word Notes

Saturday, December 8, 2007 at 3:42 PM | Filed under

For some reason, I seem to know a lot about English language usage, and I notice all the time when someone misuses a word or something, so I thought I might use this blog to occasionally teach you how to use English correctly, and today, I have a small handful of words that you are probably using incorrectly.

I see this one misused all the time. To electrocute somebody means to kill them, using electricity. It's not merely a mild shock, or even a painful one—it's one that kills you. (It can also be an accidental one.) Just remember that "electrocute" has the "-cute" suffix, just like "execute" does. If you get shocked playing with the toaster and live to tell about it, you'd better not say you were electrocuted.

If you're on a ship, and it's rocking side to side, and you notice that you feel like you're going to vomit, you aren't nauseous. You are nauseated. To be nauseous means that you cause people to be sick. Something nauseous might cause someone to become nauseated. If you tell someone, "I'm nauseous," they may as well say, "That's right; you make me sick."

If you know that the thing floating around in the atmosphere is an alien spaceship, then don't call it a UFO. "UFO" stands for "unidentified flying object"; since you've already identified it as being a spaceship, it can't be a UFO.

Well, that's all I want to discuss for now. I'd better not catch you misusing these words in the future!


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