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Incredible vs. Incredulous

Judy Vorfeld Properly used, says Chicago Manual of Style, incred­i­ble (adjec­tive) means “unbe­liev­able.” It is also used to mean “aston­ish­ing” (in a good way). Incredulous (adjec­tive) means “dis­be­liev­ing, skep­ti­cal.” American Heritage Dictionary uses, “an incred­u­lous stare.”

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In regard/regards to

Judy Vorfeld IN REGARD TO. Avoid “in regards to.” Also try sub­sti­tut­ing “about” “regard­ing” “concerning.”

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Oppress or Repress?

Judy Vorfeld Oppress means to persecute/tyrannize/bully. A nation could be oppressed by its lead­ers, a com­mu­nity could be oppressed by a pow­er­ful seg­ment intent on con­trol, and a child could be oppressed by bul­lies. Further, peo­ple can feel oppressed (worried/depressed) by many things, such as a strange atmos­phere or strange sur­round­ings. Repress […]

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Repellent or Repulsive?

Judy Vorfeld “Repellent” and “Repulsive” both speak to dri­ving oth­ers away, but REPULSIVE is more REPULSIVE than REPELLENT is REPELLENT. Repellent is more about dis­taste. Repulsive is more about dis­gust­ing. In good writ­ing, there are dis­tinct differences.

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Pretext vs Pretense

Judy Vorfeld Pretext & Pretense Pretext is a false rea­son given to con­ceal a truth, and comes from a word mean­ing “to weave, before, pre­tend.” Think of a pre­text as hav­ing “tex­ture, a cloth, a cover-up.” Dana told every­one she was laid off because of the econ­omy but she was really fired. She […]

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