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persevere

Use the verb persevere when you want to persist in anything and continue despite difficulties or obstacles.

The verb persevere comes from the Latin root persevereus which means "continue steadfastly, persist" and that word comes from two others, per- for "very" and severus for "strict." So, today, the connotation of the word is to persist in a methodical way despite obstacles or distractions. You can see the relationship between persevere and perseverate, which means "to persistently repeat something," and that word is a medical term used to describe stuttering.

Choose your words

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

assume/ presume

Assume and presume both mean to believe something before it happens, but when you assume you're not really sure. If someone bangs on your door in the middle of the night, you might assume it's your crazy neighbor. If your neighbor knocks on your door every night at 6:30, at 6:29 you can presume she's coming over in a minute.
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hone/ home

To hone is to sharpen a knife or perfect a skill. Home is where you live, where your stuff is, is where the heart is, and all that.
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exalt/ exult

To exalt, means to glorify or elevate something, but to exult is to rejoice. Exalt your favorite pro-wrestler, Jesus, or your status in the world. Exult when you get the last two tickets to see your favorite band.
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accept/ except

To accept is to receive, and except is to exclude, usually. Both are busy little words skipping around to different meanings, but they never run into each other. read more...

assure/ ensure/ insure

Although these three often show up at the same party, giving hugs, they’re not the same, thank you very much. To assure is to tell someone everything’s ok, to ensure is to make certain, and to insure is to protect financially. Have it straight now? Are you sure? read more...

venal/ venial

Catholics everywhere are confused: do they commit venal sins or venial sins? And what is a venal/venial sin anyway? read more...

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