Words: mixed up meanings

English has got to be one of the toughest languages to learn. Even our exceptions to the rules have exceptions.

Here are some of my recent mental meanderings on mixed up meanings.

Confusing homophones
1.                  This bimonthly publication comes out every other month, and that bimonthly publication comes out twice a month. Both sentences are correct.
2.                  Loan (verb) me the money, or I’ll need to get a loan (noun)
 
Homophones that are antonyms 
3.                  I buckle (bind) my seatbelt so I won’t buckle (fall apart) under pressure
4.                  This Christmas, we will have to trim (reduce) the decorations when we trim (add to) the tree.
5.                  It was an unbelievable (very accurate) documentary on extraterrestrials, but the unbelievable (not credible) accounts of UFO sightings detracted from the real evidence. 
 
Same phrase that means the opposite thing
6.                  Watch out for (look forward to) opportunities to volunteer, but watch out for (avoid) over committing.
7.                  Person 1: Did you see all the fuss about the new employee.   
            Person 2: Tell me about it?
            Person 2 could be saying “I already know” or “I want to know more”
 
Opposite phrase that means the same thing
8.                  The two houses met the same fate. This house burned up, and that house burned down.
 
Not true homophones, but stated orally, these sentences could be confusing.
9.                  I was thinking of moving a broad
10.              It is apparent that you are a parent
If you liked this you might also be interested in 
1. Word Power
2. English is Nutty 5
3.Evolving Language


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About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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