Tricky Rules

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Official/Officious

Official is far more common. It usually is an adjective meaning “authorized.” As a noun, it means a person with authority, usually one who has authority to make decisions or decide matters between two parties. Officious means “meddling in matters not one’s concern.”

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Literal(ly)

Literal comes from the Latin word meaning “letter.” It means “according to a specific word or definition, not figurative or metaphorical.” It can also mean “following the exact words,” “made up of letters,” or “exact in fact or detail.” The adverb form is literally. A literal translation is a translation that is word-for-word, following the

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Orient/Orientate

The word orient as a noun means “east.” It may be capitalized when referring to the geographical location of the Far East. Example: Hong Kong is located in the Orient. Orient as a verb means to “find direction” or “give direction.” The noun form of this kind of orienting is orientation. Sometimes people in their

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Renown/Reknown

Renown means “fame.” Renowned is the adjective form meaning “famous.” Reknown does not exist in English. Apparently it is drawn from confusion with known.

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