JS Tip 289: Spooky Words Three

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.

** Recent Tips

JS Tip 288: Spooky Words Two
JS Tip 287: Spooky Words: Words that will Haunt You
JS Tip 286: The Power of Words
JS Tip 285: Motivating Others II
JS Tip 284: Remembering

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