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Pacific or specific?

11 Feb

DictionariesI don’t know about you, but I had suspected that this one was something of an urban myth, encountered only in sitcoms or observational comedy. As I came across it myself, yesterday, in a verbal interaction, I do suspect that it only appears verbally, and not in written form, in its non-ironic instances. (I don’t go in for finger-pointing for the sake of it, but if you do come across a written instance, do let me know.)

So, for the avoidance of doubt:

Pacific means peaceful in either intent or character (or both), or related to the Pacific Ocean.

Specific, which I would like to hazard a guess is 99.9% of the time the word the user means to use, means precise, clear, clearly defined – so “would you like your new mattress delivered on a specific date or don’t you mind when it arrives?” and is also used in relation to a particular subject – “These tufts are specific to this particular kind of mattress”.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing

 

Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Pacific or specific?

  1. Alison Neale

    February 13, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Haha I have come across this one verbally too, and it always makes me smile! Another great troublesome pair I once encountered was someone who talked about celebrities being put on a pedal stool …!

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    • Liz at Libro

      February 13, 2013 at 9:33 am

      Oh dear! I have done peddle and pedal before … I try not to giggle at mistakes but sometimes you can’t help it. One person I know, a teacher, has seen it in writing too.

      Like

       

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