If only Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott took the time to learn the difference between similar sounding words – he probably would have used the correct word in his speech instead of referring to the “suppository of wisdom”.
Because of the “humorous” and juvenile connection with bum jokes, the Australia media went wild about his gaffe – distracting attention from the real issues.
I must confess I found the gaffe pretty funny too…and disturbing – that someone at that level in such high-stakes communication made such a basic blunder.
Anyway, to help you know how to choose the correct word, I firmly recommend a resource – the Grammar YUNiversity website and twitter feeds.
I am not connected with the US site at all – other than being a big fan.
I recommend the site when I help businesses improve their internal and external communication.
What I like about the site and the regular tweets – it helps you remember the confusing words in a fast and often entertaining way.
I’m a word nerd and I teach this stuff and the site greatly expands my knowledge. This site IS a suppository of great wisdom!
The suppository gaffe will be a very memorable example for my business writing sessions.
I often work with organisations to help them remember how to choose and use the correct word. Different industries have different problem words – BARE and BEAR, WAIVE and WAVE etc.
I often use visuals of letters in the words to help people remember the right choice.
For example, an easy way to remember the difference between Suppository and Repository (although after the gaffe, In Australia I think people will remember NOT to use the suppository word ):
sUPository – remember the UP in sUPpository. I’ll say no more – but you get the picture
repository – think reposition – moving (repositioning) all your valuable things into a central place for storage.
Then of course there is depository – made infamous by the Book Depository in the JFK Assassination.
Don’t use depository when you mean suppository or repository.
I recommend this entertaining and educational resource when I am training serious business writing – even to experienced business writers.
I like and recommend the resource because it:
1. Reminds us of how many confusing words there are in English that look or sound similar
2 Gives easy-to-remember memory prompts for how to choose the right word.
For example: this common mistake
If you want more:
If you want to remember how to correctly choose between Averse and aDverse – here are memory prompts I use.
Averse – without the D – just think of versus or vs. – one team versus or opposes the other OR one party in a legal action opposes the other.
I am not opposed to this – I am not averse to this.
aDverse – with the D – is when you face something Difficult or harD – aDverse conditions – aDversity (hardship)
I love helping people with simple memory devices. The Yuniversity had plenty of great examples.
I liked this Yuniversity explanation – how to tell the difference between – epidemic, endemic and pandemic.
As the Yuniversity advises: The spread of the problem increases in alphabetical order:
Thanks – now I will remember!
If you are interested in getting quick hits of random righteous grammar – you can follow on twitter OR check out the website.
Here’s a link:
And here’s how to choose correctly between discrete and discreet:
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