I love words. When strung together properly they can be so powerful. Without words, there would be no poetry, no musical lyrics, no mindless blogs…
But some words make me cringe because of their ambiguous nature. Words that mean two things can be especially angering to me when there is no clear way of knowing which meaning is being used. There are some words that you can figure out by context. You won’t easily confuse the word “tire” in the following two sentences:
“If you keep running around like that you will tire out before the party.”
“We need to pull over because we have a flat tire.”
But what about bi-monthly? The definition can be “every two months” or “twice a month”. So, how do you know?
“It’s a bi-monthly magazine subscription.”
Does that mean that I get a copy of the magazine twice a month or every other month? It’s quite unclear. It’s the same question with bi-weekly and bi-annual.
Is that two meetings a week or one meeting every other week? Are there 6 or 24 bottles of wine in that club offer? Do I have to have those medical tests twice a year or every two years?
You can see the problem here, right?
And we wonder why so many people shy from learning English when they immigrate to America. (Which is a separate rant altogether, siding with non-English speakers in a Devil’s Advocate kind of role.)