Appendix III: Word Wise




gaff – a barbed fishing spear.
gaffe – a blunder, faux pas or tactless remark.


gambler’s fallacy.

The fallacy of assuming that an untypical trend must soon change.

(See fallacies.)


gases – (UK) plural of gas.
gasses – (US) the same.

Gas, gases, gassed and gassing are the verbs on both sides of the Atlantic.


Gay (n.)
gay (adj.)

As an adjective, gay is now the acceptable term for homosexual, especially male, but the noun can be offensive. The adjective describes people's
sexual predilection; the noun seems to define them exclusively by that predilection.


gender realignment, gender reassignment.

Euphemisms for ‘sex change’. If either must be used, gender reassignment, meaning ‘re-designation’, is preferable to the possibly derogatory gender 
with its connotation of ‘putting right’. 


gender, sex.

Used correctly, gender classifies nouns and pronouns, not living things. The words father and he, for example, are of masculine gender, but my
father, Henry
is of the male sex. Gender was once used humorously to indicate the sex of a person, but its revival during the feminist movement
in the 1970s to denote the social rather than the biological differences between men and women remains controversial. Since we have an aptly
named Sex (not Gender) Discrimination Act, there should be no reason to object to such expressions as sex roles, sex change and sex equality.

(See also the generic he.)


God – the supreme being of monotheistic religions.
god, goddess – deities of polytheistic religions.

The pronouns of God and Allah are traditionally capitalised (He, His, Him), whether or not they begin sentences. Lower case is used for metaphors:
He made a god of money; she was a goddess of the silver screen.


graffito – a drawing or inscription (usually unauthorised) in a public place.
graffiti – plural of graffito.


grass roots – (n.) The demand for change came from the grass roots.
grass-roots – (adj.) A grass-roots demand for change is growing.


grey – (UK)
gray – (US)


grill – (v.) grill sausages, grill a suspect; (n.) Put the sausages under the grill.
grille – (n.) a metal grid.


guarantee – (current)
guaranty – (obsolete except in legal language)


gymnasium, gymnasiums (rather than gymnasia).

(See English- and Latin-ending plurals.)


gynaecology – (UK)
gynecology – (US)


gypsy – (current)
gipsy – (obsolescent)



















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