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learned

If you're learned (pronounced LUR-ned), you're highly educated, or you have or show a profound knowledge of some kind.

The adjective learned comes from the verb learn. You can use it either to describe someone as having a lot of education, like the learned shopkeeper who used to tell you about the Trojan War while you picked out your candy, or to describe something that doesn't come naturally, but has to be learned (in which case it's pronounced LURND). If you reward your dog when she howls, then her howling will become a learned (LURND) behavior.

Choose your words

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

healthful/ healthy

Healthful describes something that will create good health, like apples, yoga, and fresh air. Healthy describes someone fit, trim, and utterly not sick.
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alternate/ alternative

To alternate is to take turns; an alternative is an option. When you wear your checkered blazer, the black and white squares alternate. But if you’re not feeling like an ’80s guitar hero, the green plaid jacket is a nice alternative.
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ingenious/ ingenuous

Ingenuous means innocent, artless, simple, while ingenious refers to something original, creative, inventive.
read more...

peak/ peek/ pique

Let's look at three homophones: peak, peek, and pique. Peak is a topmost point, such as a mountain peak, or to reach that point. read more...

sensual/ sensuous

The words sensual and sensuous are often used interchangeably, but careful writers would do well to think before using one or the other. read more...

veracious/ voracious

Voracious describes someone super hungry, like a zombie or a wolf. A voracious appetite makes you want to eat a whole cake. Veracious (with an "e") means truthful, as in a veracious first president who cannot tell a lie. read more...

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