Sunday, June 12, 2005

50 Top Words of 2005

When you write for a living like I do, you had better like your words. I pay close attention to the latest breaking world word news.

Beyond that, this blog can help me fulfill a civic duty by keeping you, my loyal reader, up to date on the latest linquistic developments. To wit, let me introduce you to Cambridge Dictionaries Online's faithfully updated list of the 50 Top Words of 2005. These 50 words are the most often requested online during the year, the list constantly changing to reflect our dynamic language.
Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Number one is "advice." Imagine the legions of people confused about the difference between advice and advise? Advise is what you do, advice is what you give. One little letter can make a big difference, which I suspect is at the root of this word's popularity.

Number two is "liase." As in liason. Now I like to liase as well as the next person, but frankly, I'm a bit surprised at its popularity. I don't think I've ever heard that word in casual conversation. Then again, I've noticed an odd phenomenon. Once I've run into an unusual or new word, I begin to see and hear it everywhere. This recently happened to me with the word "bespoke." I'd never heard it before six months ago, and now I see it everywhere.

Number three is "effect." I'm glad to see people concerning themselves with this little word. There's an enormous difference between "effect" and "affect" that is too often the victim of confusion, an effect which affects too many.

Let me advise you with this bit of bespoke advice: liase as often as necessary with Cambridge and the like until its effect has affected you. (I'm so sorry, I put my tongue in my cheek and I can't get it out.)

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