Children's, Intermediate and Advanced Online English Dictionary & Thesaurus

Category: Writing


Grammar and Usage: “attain” vs. “obtain”

Posted in ELL Q&A, Grammar, Writing by Olivia Smialek

D“Obtain” and “attain” have similar pronunciations and meanings, but they do not generally overlap in usage. “Attain” has more the idea of achieving a goal or reaching a level or degree. “Obtain” has more the idea of actually getting something, actually taking possession of it.



WOTY In The Classroom

Posted in Word of the Year 2018, Wordsmyth Blog, WOTY 2018, Writing by Olivia Smialek

Every year, Word of the Year programs stimulate interesting discussions about the state of the world and our culture. While most of these conversations begin on the Internet or social media, they can start at home or in the classroom. Today, Wordsmyth would like to provide some activities to get your students excited about picking a Word of the Year.



continuously vs. continually

Posted in Wordsmyth Blog, Writing Tip by admin


Continually   and   Continuously.  It seems that these words should have the same meaning, but in their use by good writers there is a difference. What is done continually is not done all the time, but continuous action is without interruption. A loquacious fellow, who nevertheless finds time to eat and sleep, is continually talking; but a great river flows continuously. (Ambrose Bierce, Write It Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults, 1909)



Posted in Word of the Day, Writing Tip by admin



ae loI

1. a combined form of two or more metals, or of a metal with a nonmetal, sometimes using an inferior ingredient with a more costly one.
example: Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper.

2. the relative degree of purity of a metal; fineness.

3. something added that lowers quality or value.

Saving an occasional burst of impatience, or coarse assertion of his mastery, his good-humour remained to him, but it had now a sordid alloy of distrust; and though his eyes should twinkle and all his face should laugh, he would sit holding himself in his own arms, as if he had an inclination to hoard himself up, and must always grudgingly stand on the defensive. (Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend)