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dais

A speaker stands on a dais, or a platform, when giving a presentation. If you were speaking at the Coffee Lovers of America's conference, you'd step onto the dais so the audience could see you over their enormous cups o' joe.

Dais comes to us from the Old French word deis, which was originally pronounced with only one syllable — more like days than the current day-us. If you take a course in a lecture hall, your professor will need to stand on the dais so everyone can see her better.

Choose your words

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

faze/ phase

To faze is to disturb, bother, or embarrass, but a phase is a stage or step. It could faze your family if your princess phase lasts well into your college years.
read more...

prescribe/ proscribe

Warning! These similar sounding words have very different meanings. To prescribe is to recommend and to proscribe is to forbid. One little letter makes a big difference.
read more...

bridal/ bridle

Bridal is related to a bride, but bridle refers to a part of a horse’s harness and what you do with it. Although the words sound the same, they run in different circles unless you’re getting a horse ready for her wedding.
read more...

amoral/ immoral

Both have to do with right and wrong, but amoral means having no sense of either, like a fish, but the evil immoral describes someone who knows the difference, doesn’t care, and says “mwah ha ha” while twirling a mustache. read more...

adopt/ adapt

"Adopt, adapt, and improve," says the thief in a Monty Python skit when he robs a lingerie shop instead of a bank. Adopt is to take something over, and to adapt is to change something to suit your needs. It’s helpful advice when you ask for money and get a pair of granny panties. read more...

extant/ extent

They sounds similar and both have exes, but extant means “still here,” and extent refers to “the range of something.” People get them mixed up to a certain extent. read more...

See all Choose Your Words articles »
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