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sceptic or septic? A SCEPTIC is one who is inclined to
doubt or question accepted truths.
SEPTIC is an adjective meaning ‘infected
by bacteria’ (a SEPTIC wound).
It also describes the drainage system in
country areas which uses bacteria to aid
decomposition (SEPTIC drainage, a
SEPTIC tank).
seasonable or
seasonal?
SEASONABLE = normal for the time of
year (SEASONABLE weather)
SEASONAL = happening at a particular
season (SEASONAL employment)
shall or will? The simple future tense uses ‘shall’ with I
and we and ‘will’ with the other
pronouns:
I shall drive
you (singular) will drive
he/she/it will drive
we shall drive
you (plural) will drive
they will drive
By reversing ‘shall’ and ‘will’ you
introduce a note of determination.
Iwilldrive
you shall drive
he/she/it shall drive
we will drive
you shall drive
they shall drive
This distinction is lost in the contraction:
I’ll drive. However, in speech, the tone of
voice will indicate which is intended.
shining or shinning? shine + ing = shining
shin + ing = shinning
should or would? ‘Should’ and ‘would’ follow the pattern of
‘shall’ and ‘will’.
Ishouldwork(ifIhadthechoice)
you (singular) would work
he/she/it would work
we should work
you (plural) would work
they would work
The correct construction often needed in
aformalletteris:
I SHOULD be grateful if you WOULD
send me . . .
In the sense of ‘ought to’, use ‘should’ in
all cases:
IknowI SHOULD apologise.
You SHOULD write to your parents.
She SHOULD understand if you explain.
He SHOULD understand.
We SHOULD repair the shed.
You all SHOULD work harder.
They SHOULD resign.
silicon or silicone? SILICON = element used in electronics
industry (SILICON chip)
SILICONE = compound containing
silicon and used in lubricants and polishes
and in cosmetic surgery (SILICONE
implants)
singeing or singing? singe + ing = singeing
sing + ing = singing
siting or sitting? site + ing = siting
sit + ing = sitting
sniping or snipping? snipe + ing = sniping
snip + ing = snipping
social or sociable? SOCIAL = related to society.
a SOCIAL worker,a SOCIAL problem,
SOCIAL policy, SOCIAL housing
SOCIABLE = friendly
avery SOCIABLE person
These two words are quite distinct in
meaning even though they may be used
with the same noun:
a SOCIAL evening = an evening
organised for the purpose of recreation
a SOCIABLE evening = a friendly
evening where everyone mixed well
With any luck the social evening was also
a sociable one!
some times or
sometimes?
Use the exemplar sentences as a guide:
There are SOME TIMES when I want to
leave college. (= some occasions)
SOMETIMES Iwanttoleavecollege.
(=occasionally)
stationary or
stationery?
STATIONARY = standing still (a
STATIONARY car)
STATIONERY = notepaper and
envelopes
stimulant or stimulus? Both words are related to ‘stimulate’ but
there is a difference in meaning:
A STIMULANT is a temporary energiser
ike drink or drugs.
A STIMULUS is something that motivates
like competition).
strategem or strategy? STRATEGEM = a plot, scheme,
sometimes a trick, which will outwit an
opponent or overcome a difficulty
STRATEGY = the overall plan for
conducting a war or achieving a major
objective
strategy or tactics? STRATEGY =theoverallplanorpolicy
for achieving an objective
TACTICS = the procedures necessary to
carry out the strategic policy
swinging or
swingeing?
swing + ing = swinging
swinge + ing = swingeing

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