10 Words You're Probably Using Wrong -- and What to Say Instead
Is your new co-worker antisocial or asocial? Is your spouse jealous or envious? Not sure? Don’t worry -- most of us get confused by these similar words.
A recent article published in the journal Frontiers in Education identifies 50 psychology “term pairs” that people often get wrong. From empathy and sympathy to disease and illness, “These terms are so frequently confused in popular parlance that few people are aware that they differ,” the article’s authors explain.
While people use these psychology related terms frequently, most don’t know that they’re using them wrong -- even teachers. "In psychology, many terms are confused not only by new students but also by advanced students, psychology instructors and science journalists,” said Emory University psychology professor and co-author Scott Lilienfeld in a summary of the findings.
To help people speak properly, the co-authors reviewed previous research to construct a list of 50 word pairs that people shouldn’t use interchangeably, but often do.
To save you from having to bite your tongue after using the wrong word, here are 10 word pairs and their definitions.
Envy vs. jealousy
Prejudice vs. discrimination
Antisocial vs. asocial
You often hear people say they don’t feel like doing something that involves social interaction because they’re “antisocial.” Turns out, that’s far from the correct use of the word. In fact, people who are antisocial are those who often perform reckless or irresponsible actions against other people. This means that another person’s presence is required for someone to be truly antisocial. The word “asocial,” on the other hand, describes a person who is shy or often withdraws from social situations.
Race vs. ethnicity
Sex vs. gender
Repression vs. suppression
Symptom vs. sign
Symptoms are subjective and signs are objective. In other words, patients report their own symptoms, but doctors detect signs of certain conditions. For example, fatigue is a symptom of depression, while slowed movement is a sign of depression.