Monday Muddle: spilt, split

Monday Muddle: spilt: (verb, past tense of to spill) to allow or cause contents of a container to overflow the edges (including people from a building); to reveal information that should have been kept confidential split: (verb) to break or tear into parts; to divide into shares; to separate; (noun) a break or tear

If a bag split, the contents would likely be spilt.

“Spilt” and “split” are also both past participles which can be used as adjectives. e.g. Split pea soup, whether you are a fan of it or not, is better than spilt pea soup.

“Spilt” is the original British past tense of “to spill”, and “spilled” is the American version. Although “spilt” is still acceptable in the United Kingdom, it is becoming less common, and “spilled” is gaining in popularity—as the past tense, not as a condition of soup.

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)

Tuesday Two

Write a story with only two sentences. Use the photo for inspiration if you wish.

Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash.

A meerkat standing up straight with its head turned to the right looking at the camera.

Tuesday Two

Write a story with only two sentences. Use the photo for inspiration if you wish.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash.

An astronaut floats in the vast darkness of space.