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Tip 18: Confusing English Language

Oh, don’t we just love the English language? There are so many words that can be confusing. Here are some more to add to your list: (This info came from Gerald J. Alred’s Handbook of Technical Writing)

Liable means “legally subject to” or “responsible for.”

Libel refers to “anything circulated in writing or pictures that injures someone’s good reputation.”

When someone’s reputation is injured in speech, the term is slander

Sometimes we use the word “liable” when we really mean “likely.” Likely means that there is a possibility.

(Choose liable, libel, likely or slander. Use each choice once.)

1. If you hit someone’s car, you are liable for the damages.
2. You can’t say that about me! That’s slander!
3. I am likely to hit you if you say that again!
4. Our company sued the newspaper for libel.