In life, there are a lot of things not to be confused between them. Like… her left and her right, her boyfriend and her best friend, the brake and the accelerator or even the Gestapo and the gazpacho. But that’s not all ! You may not know it, but some “synonyms” that you use every day are actually “paronyms”: very similar words that have nothing to do with each other!
1. Boring and boring
Boring : “which arouses a feeling of weariness, of concern”. It implies frequent inconvenience. Correct Synonyms : annoying, annoying.
Annoying : an object or a person “which causes a feeling of weariness, of unpleasantness”. It’s a temporary annoyance. A movie, a colleague or a game can be boring. correct synonym : annoying.
The shade : both words refer to embarrassment. On the other hand, “boring” suggests a constant worry, while “boring” only designates a passing event, a transitory feeling.
2. Attention and intention
Attention : the action of applying oneself, of having an interest, even an affection, towards one or more people. Correct Synonyms : friendliness, benevolence.
Intention : the will to accomplish such and such an act. It is “declaring a possible future action”. Correct Synonyms : goal, desire.
Another scenario : in the context of writing a letter, we will always write “for the attention of Mr X”. We will use “in the intention of” to go further. This phrase means that the process is done in honor of someone. We write a letter for a teacher and cakes for his friends.
3. Understanding and comprehensible
Understanding : this adjective qualifies a tolerant person, who easily understands and excuses others. correct synonym : indulgent.
Understandable : adjective which designates a clear thing, which is easily understood. It is generally used to refer to texts, words or attitudes. correct synonym : intelligible.
4. Social and sociable
Social : adjective that qualifies the relationships between people or classes of society. Correct Synonyms : anthropological, community.
Sociable : adjective for those who enjoy the company of others, who are open and outgoing. Correct Synonyms : welcoming, friendly.
5. Breaking and entering
Breaking in : “breaking, forcing or removal of any device used to close a passage or a fence. “. It is the act of illegally entering somewhere.
Offense : “violation of a commitment or a law”. Correct Synonyms : felony, misdemeanor.
A break-in is a break-in, but a break-in is not always a break-in. Complex. But straightforward. But still not easy.
6. Eruption and irruption
Eruption : it is a sudden appearance, something which comes from inside to appear outside. A pimple or lava rash, for example. correct synonym : gush.
burst : it is the opposite movement, and therefore: a sudden movement from outside to inside. We will speak for example of the irruption of supporters in the stadium or of hostile elements in a country. Correct Synonyms : aggression, invasion.
7. Eminent and imminent
Prominent : which is above the common level, vastly superior, remarkable. Correct Synonyms : high, emeritus, brilliant.
Imminent : “which will happen in a very short time”. Correct Synonyms : immediate, near.
8. Bring and take
To bring : “carry something to (/to the place where) someone is”, “carry an object from one place to another”, to deposit it there. You bring a file to your boss, for example.
Carry : « to move away from a place with an object which one keeps with oneself. “. We take a suitcase on a trip.
These two verbs are used always and only with objects.
9. Bring and Take
This is exactly the same rule as above, but with animate beings (people, animals).
To bring : drive a person or an animal somewhere or near someone, and leave it there. We take our little sister to school.
To take : it’s leaving with someone, from one place to another, to stay with the person. We take our boyfriend/girlfriend to the restaurant for a romantic dinner. (You can also bring him/her if he/she is having dinner with his/her friends and needs a taxi, but it’s not the same kind of evening at all.)
10. Set up and move in
Develop : “Arrange and prepare methodically for a specific use, adapt to make it more effective”. Correct Synonyms : accommodate, adapt, arrange.
Move in ie “moving into a new home”. correct synonym : settle down (but nobody says that, let’s be honest two minutes).
11. Accident and incident
Accident “Unfortunate event that causes damage, injury or unforeseeable event”. Correct Synonyms : disaster, tragedy, misfortune, misfortune.
Incident : “Small event which occurs unexpectedly and which is secondary to the main action”.
The two words are very close, since they both designate an unfortunate event that happens unexpectedly. On the other hand, we cannot say that they are synonymous, since they do not give the same degree of seriousness to the actions. A wee panties (incident) and a pile-up on the highway (accident), it’s not quite the same…
12. Prodigy and Prodigal
Prodigal : “Spendthrift, who distributes abundantly”. correct synonym : spendthrift.
Prodigy “Extraordinary Person or Phenomenon”. Correct Synonyms : miracle, marvel.
13. Conjecture and Conjuncture
Conjecture : “Opinion based on probabilities, suppositions”. Correct Synonyms : supposition, hypothesis.
Conjuncture : “Situation which results from a set of circumstances”. Correct Synonyms : event, circumstance, occasion.
14. Affectionate and Affectionate
affective : « Which concerns the states of pleasure or pain which affect the sensibility ». The adjective relates to emotions, feelings, sensitivity. We can, for example, speak of an “affective reaction”.
Affectionate : “Who shows / expresses affection, tenderness”. This adjective is necessarily attached to a person or to a person’s gesture. We’re talking about a loving kiss.
15. Defendant and Defender
Respondent “Person against whom legal action is brought”. In other words, he is the accused.
Defender : by definition, it is the one “who defends something or someone”, “who opposes an attack”. In the context of justice, it is the lawyer.