In its narrowest sense, a synonym is a word or phrase that is perfectly
substitutable in a context for another word or phrase. People who study
language professionally agree that there is no such thing as an ideal
synonym, for it is virtually impossible to find two words or phrases that
are identical in denotation (meaning), connotation, frequency,
familiarity, and appropriateness. Indeed, linguists have long noted the
economy of language, which suggests that no language permits a perfect
What is an error in English?
The concept of language errors is a fuzzy one. I’ll leave to linguists the technical definitions. Here we’re concerned only with deviations from the
standard use of English as judged by sophisticated users such as professional writers, editors, teachers, and literate executives and personnel officers. The
aim of this site is to help you avoid low grades, lost employment opportunities, lost business, and titters of amusement at the way you write or speak.
Human beings communicate in four ways.We listen, speak, read, and write.When you were a baby the ﬁrst
thing you did was listen to the world around you. You recognized voices; you were startled by noises; you
were soothed by music. Then you began to imitate the sounds you heard and you experimented by creating
your own sounds. You learned that crying brought attention, words identiﬁed things, and that linking words
together made meaning. Then you learned that symbols on a page held unique meaning, and you learned to