Procrastinate or prevaricate?

27 Jan

Welcome back to the Troublesome Pairs after a long break full of posts on business and Word. People have been asking about them, so I’ve started writing up a few more. Let me know if you’re pleased that I’ve done this, or if you’ve been helped by a particular Pair, won’t you!

This one came up in the cafe one Sunday afternoon, as my friend Gill and I were sipping our coffees, looking things up on the Internet via our phones, talking about all sorts … and putting off venturing out into the rain. Is there a difference between these two? Do you know what it is? Really? Because we thought that we did and … well … I’m glad that I always look it up to check!

To procrastinate means to put off doing something. For example, we were procrastinating when we sat in the cafe chatting about this and that rather than going out into the pouring rain.

To prevaricate means to speak or act in an evasive way. For example, when asked whether it was going to carry on raining, a weather forecaster might waffle on about climate change and average daily rainfall in order to avoid telling the truth for as long as possible.

“He prevaricated over paying the bill yet again, claiming that he’d lost his wallet before finally getting it out and paying. So I procrastinated when it was time to ask him out for dinner again, coming up with all sorts of activities that I must do immediately, before getting around to calling him.”

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


Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


Tags: , , ,

4 responses to “Procrastinate or prevaricate?

  1. Rebecca Bennett

    January 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Great, thank you Liz that really helps, looking forward to seeing more of these.


    • Liz at Libro

      January 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it – have you explored the other Troublesome Pairs in the index?


  2. Gillian Rose

    January 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    I’m really glad we thought of this one. It’s common to get it wrong, which I have to admit I have been doing. No more, though!


    • Liz at Libro

      January 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Yes, indeed, and it’s nice to get the series going again, so thanks for the suggestion!



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