Monday Muddle: fictional, fictitious, fictive

Monday Muddle fictional: (adjective) imaginary; characteristic of literary fiction (e.g. fictional character) fictitious: (adjective) artificial; fictional, but with the intent to conceal or mislead (e.g. fictitious alibi) fictive: (adjective) relates to a specific fictional element (e.g. fictive kinship)

The meanings of these three words are very similar, and all relate to creations of the imagination. But there are some nuances. If it’s in a negative context—not being factual for the purpose of being deceptive—use “fictitious”. If you are discussing literature, use “fictional”. “Fictive” is less common than the other two, and is often used in the phrase “fictive kinship” which is a relationship based not on familial ties but on a close relationship. (e.g. when you call your mother’s best friend Aunt Sue)

Monday Muddle: worse, worst, wurst

A comparative adjective (worse) is used when you are comparing two things. A superlative adjective is used when you are comparing three or more things. Unless you are comparing sausage, and then you may need to use “wurst”.

Monday Muddle: worse: (adjective) of lower quality; more serious; more severe; not as good; (adverb) more seriously; more severely; less satisfactorily; (noun) a more serious or more severe situation worst: (adverb) the most seriously; the most severely; the least satisfactorily; (noun) the most serious, severe, or unsatisfactory wurst: (noun) sausage from Germany or Austria

Monday Muddle: stalk, stock

A couple important points to remember:

You probably wouldn’t stalk shelves.

A laughing stalk is probably some kind of character in an animated feature. A laughingstock is a person, or thing, that is being ridiculed or mocked.

Monday Muddle: stalk: (noun) the stem of a plant; a similar supporting structure on other objects; (verb) to pursue persistently, often with the intention to harass or harm stock: (noun) goods or inventory kept available for sale or use; (finance) shares of a company; (culinary) the base of a soup, sauce or stew; (verb) to keep a supply of items to have on hand or make available for sale (e.g. to stock shelves in a store)

Monday Muddle: wander, wonder

To wander about a place is not the same as to wonder about a place. If you have never been to a place, you may have wondered about it, but you have not wandered about it.

Monday Muddle: wander: (verb) to walk slowly; to stroll; to leave the pre-determined path and go a route you choose, often without a clear destination; (noun) the act of wandering wonder: (noun) a sense of awe, amazement, surprise, or admiration, usually at experiencing something inexplicable or out of the ordinary and often beautiful; (verb) to be curious; to want to know; to want to get information or an explanation

Monday Muddle: Tudor, tutor

If you see a sign for “Tutoring”, someone is offering to help you with your academic pursuits. If you see a sign for “Tutoring”, that could possibly be an offer for historical reenactments or house renovations.

Monday Muddle: Tudor: (adjective) referring to the Royal dynasty that reigned in England from 1485 until 1603; (noun) a member of the Tudor family; a style of architecture that was prevalent during the Tudor period, known to some as half-timbered houses tutor: (noun) a private teacher usually teaching one or a small number of students; (verb) to teach one or a small number of students outside a traditional classroom setting