Italian writer Carlo Collodi wrote the children’s novelThe Adventures of Pinocchioin 1883. Pinocchio was a wooden puppet who wanted to become a real boy. Despite the efforts of his trusty conscience, The Talking Cricket, he kept lying and wasn’t conscious of his actions.
Much like The Talking Cricket, let this week’s Word Tripper be your guide to the difference betweenconsciousandconscience.
Conscience, conscious– “Conscience,” a noun, is part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions being morally right or wrong. “Conscious,” an adjective, describes being awake and able to understand what’s happening around you (a fact or feeling).
“I was highlyconsciousof my inability to pocket the wad of twenty-dollar bills I’d found. I knew myconsciencewouldn’t allow me to keep this money.” – Bobbie Bookhout
Things break down. Musclesatrophyfrom lack of use, cars won’t start from lack of maintenance, and houses get messy due to lack of cleaning. Sometimes life just doesn’t go the way you plan and theentropyof everyday living can take its toll on a person’s body and mind.
Here’s help in making sure your lexicon doesn’t break down. This week’s Word Tripper highlights the differences betweenatrophyandentropy.
Atrophy, entropy– “Atrophy,” a noun and a verb, refers to a gradual loss or wasting away physically or psychologically. It can also refer to poor development. “Entropy,” a noun, is the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system. In a technical sense, it’s the gradual breakdown of energy and matter. In casual usage, entropy refers to the disintegration or disorganization of any situation.
“The teenager’s muscles started toatrophyfrom lying in bed too long. His room, scattered with clothes, shoes, and books, showed a degree ofentropyfrom being neglected.”
Every practice has its tricks of the trade. In this week’s Word Tripper, the trick to knowing the difference between the homonym “breach” and “breech” is this: ”Breach,” meaning to open by force or break an agreement, is spelled with an “ea” like the word “break” itself.
If writing is part ofyourtrade, use this trick to differentiate between these two words both in meaning and spelling. Happy Word Tripping!
Breach, breech– As a noun, “breach” is a failure to do what’s required or promised; a break in friendly relations between people or groups; a hole or opening in something created by force. As a verb, it means to fail to do what’s required or promised; to force an opening or break an agreement. “Breech,” a noun, refers to the hind end of something. For example, a breech birth occurs when an infant’s bottom comes out first during delivery. “Breech” is also the part of a firearm (e.g., a rifle or cannon) found at the rear end of its barrel.
“It’s clearly abreechbirth when the doctor sees the newborn’s bottombreachthe birth canal.” – Dr. Ron Minson
Whenever I hear about a fun writing tool, I have to try it out. Most recently I learned about a nifty headline analyzer from SpeakerNet News (a highly recommended weekly resource for professional speakers and trainers www.speakernetnews.com).
For a recent Word Tripper of the Week, I played with various subject lines. After starting with the too-familiar Random Acts of Kindness, the analyzer scored these various ideas and helped me choose one (noted in bold). Which one of these would you have selected? A better idea yet?
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a non-profit organization that inspires a culture of kindness in schools, homes, and communities. It encourages acts of kindness by providing resources to people who are both benevolent and beneficent.
This week’s Word Tripper clarifies the difference between these similar words.