Archive for December, 2014

Merry Christmas in 24 Languages

I wish all my followers a Merry Christmas! 🙂

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Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Dumb

Some days, I get more than a hundred e-mails and I need to read and answer them all. I don’t see those people and our main communication channel is e-mail. When this is the case, the sentence structure and the selection of words are the defining ways of creating the first impression. When somebody uses the words incorrectly, they just make a bad impression and somehow I even don’t trust their ideas on a certain subject. Maybe I’m so strict about that, I have to admit but some incorrectly used words can make you look dumb. 🙂

I found this article on Linkedin. It is written by Jeff Haden. Here I chose the words that interest me most. 🙂

I hope you enjoy! You can always click the line at the bottom to read the full article.


Affect and effect

Verbs first. Affect means to influence: “Impatient investors affected our roll-out date.”Effect means to accomplish something: “The board effected a sweeping policy change.”

How you use effect or affect can be tricky. For example, a board can affect changes by influencing them and can effect changes by directly implementing them. Bottom line, use effect if you’re making it happen, and affect if you’re having an impact on something that someone else is trying to make happen.

As for nouns, effect is almost always correct: “Once he was fired he was given 20 minutes to gather his personal effects.” Affect refers to an emotional state, so unless you’re a psychologist you probably have little reason to use it.

Compliment and complement

Compliment means to say something nice. Complement means to add to, enhance, improve, complete, or bring close to perfection.

I can compliment your staff and their service, but if you have no current openings you have a full complement of staff. Or your new app may complement your website.

For which I may decide to compliment you.

Discreet and discrete

Discreet means careful, cautious, showing good judgment: “We made discreet inquiries to determine whether the founder was interested in selling her company.”

Discrete means individual, separate, or distinct: “We analyzed data from a number of discrete market segments to determine overall pricing levels.” And if you get confused, remember you don’t use “discretion” to work through sensitive issues; you exercise discretion.

Elicit and illicit

Elicit means to draw out or coax. Think of elicit as the mildest form of extract. If one lucky survey respondent will win a trip to the Bahamas, the prize is designed to elicit responses.

Illicit means illegal or unlawful, and while I suppose you could elicit a response at gunpoint … you probably shouldn’t.

Fewer and less

Use fewer when referring to items you can count, like “fewer hours” or “fewer dollars.”

Use “less” when referring to items you can’t (or haven’t tried to) count, like “less time” or “less money.”

Principal and principle

A principle is a fundamental: “Our culture is based on a set of shared principles.”Principal means primary or of first importance: “Our startup’s principal is located in NYC.” (Sometimes you’ll also see the plural, principals, used to refer to executives or relatively co-equals at the top of a particular food chain.)

Principal can also refer to the most important item in a particular set: “Our principal account makes up 60% of our gross revenues.”

Principal can also refer to money, normally a sum that was borrowed, but can be extended to refer to the amount you owe — hence principal and interest.

If you’re referring to laws, rules, guidelines, ethics, etc., use principle. If you’re referring to the CEO or the president (or an individual in charge of a high school), use principal.


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Interesting Language Facts

We always talk about some aspect of a language- English mainly. But there thousands of other languages around the world and unfortunately some of them are endangered.

Here is a detailed infographic summarising world languages and showing the current situation. It is a kind of reference point, so I hope you find it fun and informative.


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“Epiphany”, “Mistletoe” and Many More Christmas Words

It’s again Christmas time! 🙂 It feels good and sad, a little bit both. I just don’t understand how the years pass by. This is our 3rd Christmas together by the way. 🙂

And as a tradition, I want to remind you some Christmas terminology which is quite useful for non-Christian bilingual community here. 🙂

Have a happy new year already! 😀


Advent – From the Latin Adventus (coming) the four week period preceding Christmas which serves as a time of reflection in preparation for the celebration of the Nativity.

Baubles – Shiny trinkets and ornaments, traditionally made from glass, used in Christmas decorations.

Bells – Hollow metal objects that emit a tuned sound when struck, used during Christmas to announce the arrival of the season and proclaim the birth of Christ.

Carols – Originally secular songs to accompany dancing during communal celebrations, Carols have evolved to become religious songs sung at Christmas.

Christmas Star – The star that guided the Wise Men, or Maji, to Jesus in the stable. One of the more prominent symbols of Christmas and one extensively used as decoration at Christmas time.

Dove – An ancient symbol of love and peace, later used by Christians to symbolize the Holy Ghost. Often used as a decoration at Christmas, particularly on the Christmas Tree.

Epiphany – A life changing event. The last of the 12 days of Christmas, Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Christ to the gentiles, as represented by the visiting Wise Men.

Holly – A bush with green glossy leaves, and most known for the varieties with red berries, used as a Christmas decoration representing new life.

Holy – Sacred, or participant of the holiness of a divine power, usually God.

Lamb of God – One of the titles given to Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible.

Mistletoe – A semi-parasitic plant that grows on certain types of trees, typified by the sticky substance surrounding the seed which helps it to attach to a potential host when excreted by birds. Mistletoe is used as a Christmas decoration.

Nativity – That moment of birth when the infant takes its first breath and so begins the process of self maintenance of bodily functions. In Christmas terms, Nativity refers to the birth of Jesus.

Offerings – Gifts of money made in the spirit of Christmas gift giving and used to aid the needy.

Parade – A ceremonial procession involving people marching and also sometimes decorated vehicular floats. Christmas is a popular time for parades with many cities holding official parades.

Santa Claus – An imaginary man who circles the globe on Christmas Eve distributing gifts. Believed to be a derivation of Saint Nicolas, the patron saint of Children.

Shepherd – Someone who watches over a flock of sheep, usually in the fields. This concept has been expanded to mean anyone caring for another group of beings, such as a Pastor who watches over and cares for a group of people.

Sleigh – A vehicle used in snowy conditions, traditionally pulled by animals. Used by Santa Claus on his Christmas Eve journey.

Twelve Days of Christmas – A popular Christmas song representing the twelve days from December 35 to January 6. It is thought that the song was a means to teach the tenets of the Catholic faith during times when Catholicism was banned, although this is open to debate.

Wassail – From the Middle English “Waes Haeil”, meaning to be in good health, the custom of toasting to each others health, a custom that has woven itself into Christmas traditions.

Wise Men – Magi/Sages/Medicine Men from the East who visited Jesus with Mary and Joseph shortly after he was born. Although never stated, it is assumed they were three in number as they brought three gifts for the child; Gold and Frankincense and Myrrh.

For more words, click here.

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