Shades of meaning

20Jun09

One of my colleagues was wondering the other day about the difference between “continuously” and “continually.”

This got me thinking about the subtle shades of meaning that pepper even the most common of words. Just for the heck of it, I started jotting down words that express similar concepts, but with slightly different meanings. (Yes, I’m a dork.)

What’s the difference between the sets of words in the two columns below? I’ll be back with the answers in a few days.

Brave                       Fearless
Engine                     Motor
Poison                     Toxin
War                          Battle
Money                     Currency
Font                         Typeface
Sprain                     Strain
Axe                          Hatchet
Shrub                      Bush
Ensure                    Insure
Refute                     Rebut
Application            Program
Rifle                         Shotgun
Missile                    Rocket
Emigrate                Immigrate
Serpent                   Snake

Oh, and for the record: “Continuously” refers to something that happens non-stop, without interrpution, while “continually” is more appropriate for something that happens often, but with breaks in between. (I admit it: I had to look that one up. Grin.)



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