Blood Words

Numerous scientific terms that describe the appearance or action of blood derive from the Greek word for blood: haima. From the Greek element comes an English prefix spelled haem– in British usage and hem– in American usage. haemoglobin / hemoglobin An iron-containing protein pigment occurring in the red blood cells of vertebrates. The protein is … Read more

For Some Reason

The idiom “for some reason” means, “for a reason unknown to me.” For example: For some reason, they hid behind a lot of legal issues. [The] game keeps scrolling up for some reason.  For some reason, the drivers were very discourteous that night. I first noticed the non-idiomatic phrase “in some reason” used in place of “for … Read more


A reader objects to the expanding use of the noun gig beyond the meaning it has for musicians: I have received an invitation to attend a ‘revegetation gig’ at a local riverside park in Brisbane Australia. I know that music bands play at ‘gigs’, but to use ‘gig’ to mean a getting together of people … Read more


This word from the Greek referred originally to the ease and comfort felt by people who enjoy good health. The Greek elements are eu (well) and pherein (to bear/carry). Etymologically, euphoria is a feeling of well-being. The earliest use of euphoria in English (1684) is as a medical term. The right medicine could produce a … Read more

Confused Words #5: Conscious vs. Conscience

The similarity of the words is no doubt the reason they are confused. The first syllable is pronounced the same in both, and both contain a /sh/ sound: conscious /KON-shus/ conscience /KON-shence/ An important difference, and one that should point a speaker to the correct word, is the fact that they function as different parts … Read more


A reader has requested a discussion of the word redact: Your article on degrade…reminded me of redact, a verb whose meaning is shifting because the usual context in which it is used nowadays is when a document is partially censored or has portions elided. Perhaps you would like to do an article on redact. The … Read more

Verb Review #5: Adverbial Clauses

Clauses function as one of three parts of speech: adverb, adjective, or noun. This review is about adverbial clauses (also called “adverb clauses”). Reminder: A clause is a group of words that contains a finite verb. A finite verb shows tense. For example: sing, walked, was thinking, is living, etc. Finite verbs are also called … Read more