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When you burgle, you steal something from inside a house or a building. A computer thief might burgle several laptops after sneaking into a school at night.

It's common to use to verb burgle in Britain, while in the United States people are more likely to say burglarize. Both words basically means "to steal from inside a building." If you burgle and are caught, the crime you'll be charged with is called "burglary." Burgle has been in use since the 1860's, when it was a jokey, colloquial word based on burglar, with its Latin root of burgare, "to break open."

Choose your words

Caught between words? Learn how to make the right choice.

luxuriant/ luxurious

In yet another attempt to reduce English to features and selling points, advertisers often use luxuriant to describe their products or services.

their/ there/ they're

How do you comfort grammar snobs? Pat them on the back and say, their, there. You see, they're easily comforted, but you have to get it in writing because those words sound alike. Their shows possession (their car is on fire), there is a direction (there is the burning car), and they're is short for "they are" (they're driving into the lake).

affect/ effect

Choosing between affect and effect can be scary. Think of Edgar Allen Poe and his RAVEN: Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun. You can’t affect the creepy poem by reading it, but you can enjoy the effect of a talking bird.

turbid/ turgid

Turbid can refer to something thick with suspended matter, while turgid means swollen or bombastic. read more...

eminent/ imminent

No, it's not the name of the latest rapper from Detroit — eminent describes anyone who's famous. But imminent refers to something about to happen, like the next big thing's imminent rise to the top. These two words sound the same to some, but they're unrelated. read more...

regrettably/ regretfully

Regrettably is used when something’s a bummer, but it’s not necessarily your fault. Regretfully is when you’re full of regret, like if you decided to stay home and your friends saw your crush at the dance. read more...

See all Choose Your Words articles »
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