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Caught between words?

Don't be confused! Learn how to make the right choice.
gorilla/ guerrilla

You might see a gorilla in a zoo, but a guerrilla (sometimes spelled with one “r”), is someone who belongs to a group of independent fighters. If you remember your high school Spanish, you’ll know the difference. Continue reading...

statue/ statute

Look under the pigeons and you might find a bronze statue in a park, but there’s probably a statute, or law, about how big it can be. Continue reading...

quote/ quotation

If you quote someone, do you create a quote or a quotation? To quote is to transcribe what someone said or wrote, crediting that person. Continue reading...

tortuous/ torturous

Don’t torture yourself trying to remember the difference between tortuous and torturous. Tortuous describes something like the long and winding road. But torturous is what a room full of masochists might say: “Torture us!” It describes something painful, like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Continue reading...

All Choose Your Words »


Use the adverb potentially to describe something that could happen or might be true. Your backyard leaf burning project, for example, is potentially dangerous.

When there's a possibility of something occurring or becoming reality, use the word potentially. All babies are potentially geniuses, and you might optimistically watch new TV comedies every fall in the belief that they're potentially funny. In other words, babies might turn out to be brilliant, and TV shows have the possibility of making you laugh out loud. The root word here is potential, from the Latin potentia, "power, might or force."