Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting
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** From the Writing Workshops: Spooky Words Three
We’re still exploring spooky words—words that will haunt you if you use them incorrectly.
Farther and further
Farther involves physical distance: “The site is farther away than we thought.” Yards. Miles. Whatever.
Further involves figurative distance: “The answers are further away than we thought.” Research. Investigation. Whatever.
Imply and infer
Speakers and writers imply. They hint. They suggest. “The CEO implied we’d get a raise next year.”
Listeners and readers infer. They assume. They understand. “The workers inferred they’d get a raise next year.”
Bears dress in fur. We like that joke.
Insure, ensure, and assure
Insure refers to insurance: “Insure the package before you ship it.” Think of the I as the crossbar of a dollar sign: “$nsure the package before you ship it.” You buy insurance with dollars.
Ensure means to make sure: “Ensure the package gets there safely. Get tracking numbers and follow up.”
(But beware: British writers use insure and ensure interchangeably. That’s one of the reasons we had a revolution.)
Assure means to comfort or guarantee: “I assure you the package will arrive on time. I guarantee it.”
Let us know your thoughts. We love this stuff.
Still more words next week.
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