Confusing Pairs Redux

You broach a subject when you raise it with someone: The partner
broached the issue of missed deadlines with the hapless associate

A brooch is a piece of jewellery typically pinned to the upper breast: The Queen always wears a large diamond brooch on her coat or dress, but her ancestor James I preferred to pin one to his hat.

The two words are pronounced in the same way (like broach).

This shouldn’t need to be mentioned, but you’d be surprised – shocked, really – by the number of lawyers who have said to me that they sometimes get confused about which is which.

One gives a mortgage to a lender, perhaps to the point of being mortgaged to the hilt. So, if you like, think of the mortgagee as the donee in this scenario.

That is, the bank or some other lender who takes security for the loan (although this person is the giver (donor) rather than the recipient of credit).

The mortgagor, then, is the giver of the mortgage (but the taker of credit).

They mean the same thing, but people get confused about which one to use.

The verb shine has two forms in the past, shined and shone.

Research yields a general rule of thumb: shined tends to be used where the verb has an object (I shined my shoes but The moon shone brightly).

This isn’t invariably the case. It is more natural to say She shone her flashlight into the dark cellar or The inquiry shone a light into the dark world of cryptocurrency.

I am led to believe that Americans pronounce shone to rhyme with tone not gone. Shudder.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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