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a website dedicated to misused words

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a website dedicated to misused words

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 01.14.2008 3:53 pm

I am not sure if this will help our "English as a second Language Speakers" or Native English Speakers more..

http://www.cjr.org/resources/lc/

this website has links to show how words are commonly misused.. such as fortuitous, or loan/lend, etc. Whether English is your mother language, or you are learning it as another language, you might be surprised how many words you have missused due to ignorance..

enjoy.

(edit) because I simply can't spell anymore.. doh!!
Last edited by two_heads_talking on Mon 01.14.2008 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: a website dedicated to misused words

Postby NZJutsu » Tue 01.15.2008 7:59 am

How about the difference between "presume" and "assume"? I've never really understood that one...

Example:
"I assume that you know about ____?" vs "I presume that you know about ____?"
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RE: a website dedicated to misused words

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 01.15.2008 9:49 am

I can do some research..

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:assume&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

ok let's start with some standard definitions..
Definitions of assume on the Web:
take to be the case or to be true; accept without verification or proof; "I assume his train was late"
• take on titles, offices, duties, responsibilities; "When will the new President assume office?"
• take on a certain form, attribute, or aspect; "His voice took on a sad tone"; "The story took a new turn"; "he adopted an air of superiority"; "She assumed strange manners"; "The gods assume human or animal form in these fables"
• bear: take on as one's own the expenses or debts of another person; "I'll accept the charges"; "She agreed to bear the responsibility"
• occupy or take on; "He assumes the lotus position"; "She took her seat on the stage"; "We took our seats in the orchestra"; "She took up her position behind the tree"; "strike a pose"
• seize and take control without authority and possibly with force; take as one's right or possession; "He assumed to himself the right to fill all positions in the town"; "he usurped my rights"; "She seized control of the throne after her husband died"
• simulate: make a pretence of; "She assumed indifference, even though she was seething with anger"; "he feigned sleep"
• take up someone's soul into heaven; "This is the day when May was assumed into heaven"
• wear: put clothing on one's body; "What should I wear today?"; "He put on his best suit for the wedding"; "The princess donned a long blue dress"; "The queen assumed the stately robes"; "He got into his jeans"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
• An agreement to continue performing duties under a contract or lease.
• To take upon oneself the risk or liabilities of another.
en.wikisource.org/wiki/Bookkeeping/Single-Entry_Bookkeeping/Mercantile_Terms,_Abbreviations,_Signs,_and_Characters/Mercantile_Terms
• To take over the obligation of another, for example, to assume a note and deed of trust.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3Apresume

Definitions of presume on the Web:
assume: take to be the case or to be true; accept without verification or proof; "I assume his train was late"
• make bold: take upon oneself; act presumptuously, without permission; "How dare you call my lawyer?"
• constitute reasonable evidence for; "A restaurant bill presumes the consumption of food"
• take liberties or act with too much confidence
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
To assume something is to suppose it is the case without proof. To presume on the other hand is to suppose something is the case on the basis of a probability.

- "presume" means "to believe something to be true without proof" (e.g "after a couple of weeks, the coastguard presumed that there were no survivors")

- "assume" means "to suppose something to be true without checking or confirming it" (e.g "he assumed that they had an affair").

Both mean to suppose or believe, but assume comes with no knowledge about the subject while presume comes with an underlying knowledge e.g. "Since most of my girlfriends like blue, I assumed that you'd like blue too." Compare this with "Since I knew she had a son, I presumed that she was married."

Assume: is to jump to a conclusion
to take for granted or without proof; suppose; postulate; posit: to assume that everyone wants peace.

Husband: Why are you hear watching me?
Wife: I assumed you were going to do something stupid

Presume: To take for granted as being true in the absence of proof to the contrary:

We presumed she was innocent.

http://patientanonymous.blogspot.com/2007/02/to-assume-or-presume-that-is-question.html

While most people think they are the same, as you can see, they are slightly different. I hope this helps to clarify the misunderstanding.



(edit with added research)
Last edited by two_heads_talking on Tue 01.15.2008 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: a website dedicated to misused words

Postby jenl » Tue 01.15.2008 10:24 am

IANAET, but my take on it:

Presume and assume tend to be used interchangeably in modern English and in most cases nobody will pick you up on it, but there are some slight differences - mostly, I think, in that presume suggests there is some sort of prior knowledge or probability behind the assumption being made.

For example, sometimes in science we make assumptions that simplify calculations. i.e. assume a frictionless surface, or assume a point source. These assumptions have no base in reality, but for the purposes of the following calculations we are pretending they're true. You cannot presume a frictionless surface.

But we presume someone is innocent, not assume it.

I would say "I assume that you all know about [something basic to my field of research] already" at the start of a talk if I'm planning on skipping some basic explanations.
But I might say "I presume you've heard what happened at her wedding." because gossip travels fast. (When people say stuff like this it's often in a tone that suggests you ought to have heard about it by now, really).

In your example, to say "I presume that you know..." might hint that you think that they should know. You can use presume when in a format like "Since you all attended last term's course, I presume you know..."

(IANAET = I Am Not An English Teacher. :D)
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RE: a website dedicated to misused words

Postby arbalest71 » Tue 01.15.2008 11:03 am

jenl wrote:
You cannot presume a frictionless surface.

But we presume someone is innocent, not assume it.


Hmm- you might not be able to presume an abstract frictionless surface, but you can certainly presume it of a concrete example... "Your surface is frictionless, Dr Livingstone, I presume?" is a question that might be asked at a lecture by a prominent physicist, or before some great and unmentionable perversion.

I'm also not an English teacher, but there is an interesting echo of Japanese in this one, I think... presume is necessarily personal, which is a bit of an oddity in English. This is because it carries a note of.. presumption. It implies, however distantly, some imposition on the hearer ("you believe that there exists a truly frictionless surface, I presume" is fine to my ear). At least that's how I hear it.. I can't back this up at all ;), so maybe I am way off.

EDIT: just to back this up... you can't "assume on someone's hospitality", but you can presume on it, etc... I note that dictionaries often give a definition that is indistinguishable from that of "assume", but that the example sentences always involve a state of mind, etc. I'd guess that presume and assume began life as entirely separate entities, and have only recently met and wed.

EDIT2: The reason I say there is an echo of Japanese is that, as far as I can tell, it is considered impolite to flatly state things about another's desires, etc. in Japanese... In fact one of my textbooks went so far as to say that it was ungrammatical to do so without a qualifier, in some cases (e.g. kare ha ~-tai). OTOH, a native speaker told me that that was fine but that "well... you should never say that... they would think 'how the hell does this gaijin know what I am thinking'". Seems similar to that- a qualifier to soften a presumption of someone else's state of mind, for instance.
Last edited by arbalest71 on Tue 01.15.2008 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: a website dedicated to misused words

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 01.15.2008 1:07 pm

added my research above..
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RE: a website dedicated to misused words

Postby NZJutsu » Tue 01.15.2008 10:51 pm

Ah I see, that clears it up quite well ^^

Thanks guys/girls :D
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