Tag Archive - confusables

Moral and Ethical Ethics 

We often hear the words ethics and morals used interchangeably or paired as if either meaning the same thing or needing to go together.

Let’s look at the difference between these two words:

  • Morals have to do with personal conduct. They are generally recognized principles of good and bad and are often used when speaking of sexual conduct.
  • Ethics are rules of correct behavior, usually recognized or defined by a group. For example, research scientists might have a code of ethics regarding the use of animals in product testing.

An ethic is a moral rule that might be observed by some but disregarded by others. Your work ethic might be to put in at least eight hours of hard work each day, whereas your brother’s work ethic might be to put in a token effort, then spend the rest of the day watching the ballgame with a beer in hand.

  • Moral support is support in principle (not necessary practical).
  • Moral victory is success of good over bad.
  • Moral obligation is a duty to do what is considered right, regardless of other factors.

Morale is a sense of confidence, pride, high spirits, feeling valued.  When things look grim, we try to keep our morale up. A person can be amoral (without morals), but she can’t be amorale (without morale), because moral/amoral are adjectives and morale is a noun.

Negligence Is Not Negligible

Neglect and negligence are both nouns, but there is a difference in meaning.  Neglect is an action that shows lack of duty or attention:

  • The animal died due to the owner’s neglect.

Negligence is an action or habit that means a failure to exercise the carefulness expected in a situation:

  • The accident was caused by the driver’s negligence.

Neglect is often deliberate and negligence involuntary. A person is neglectful if he’s careless and forgetful (whether purposely or not). He would be negligent if he’s habitually careless or unconcerned when he shouldn’t be, and the result of such negligence is sometimes an accident.

Another word that is related is negligible, which simply means insignificant or of little consequence:

  • The damage to my car was negligible.

It may seem negligible to you to learn the difference between neglect and negligence, but I wouldn’t want you to be negligent about learning the distinction.

Hale, Hardy, and Hearty

If you’re hale, you’re well.  And some people like to use the expression “hale and hearty.” That sounds right, doesn’t it? Maybe they are thinking it means they have a healthy heart, but the word hearty is incorrect.

When we talk about someone being bold, vigorous, or robust, we say they are hardy. That’s quite a bit different from hearty, which means warm and enthusiastic.

  • He gave me a hearty greeting when I arrived.
  • She’s a hearty gal—strong and healthy.

Hearty can also mean nourishing and satisfying, when talking about food or appetite: Continue Reading…

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