Living with English

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THE ‘pleonasm’, is an unnecessary word or phrase that repeats an idea conveyed by another one. ‘Pleonasmos’ is a Greek word meaning ‘more-ness’. Language users, who speak a lot, tend to use it for emphasis but if you take a close look, you will find them hilarious, as, for instance ‘my autobiography, wrong mistake or bad ill-luck’! Lawyers use a lot of these pairs, as can be seen in ‘betwixt and between’ or ‘aid and abet’.

Learn a little

Everyone is used as one word when it has a unified meaning equivalent to ‘anybody’ as in ‘Everyone knows the drawbacks of liberalisation. It is used as two words in sentences where it is used for each individual as in ‘The teacher will correct every one notebook tomorrow’.

Intriguing words

Gourmets and foodies dictate to our tastebuds but who exactly is a gourmet? The original word was ‘groumet’ or ‘a horse groom’, later altered to ‘gourmet’ to denote the minor servants of the household which included the boys who tasted the wine and once trained, these boys would get jobs in wine shops. Eventually, the wine shop gourmet became a connoisseur of fine wines and foods in general, creating the present word ‘gourmet’, that is, ‘a person with a discerning palate’.

Precise usage

The words ‘connoisseur’, ‘gourmet’ and ‘gourmand’ are used often in the same sense but there is a shade of difference to their meaning. These words illustrate well the vocabulary proficiency that most people think is a matter of memorising word lists. Most language users know well a set of high frequency words that don’t involve a certain level of sophistication in usage. But, when a person uses low-frequency words with ease, automatically the men stand separated from the boys. Because, in order to use such words proficiently the user should know the meaning, the exact form and the right context. ‘Gourmet’ refers to a person, who can appreciate food expertly but ‘gourmand’ is a person who has a discerning palate; also, enjoys eating good food and may often eat too much. The ‘connoisseur’ is an expert judge of taste in any area; food maybe one such area.