Friday, November 08, 2013


I've been talking to my students this week about various elements of professionalism, ranging from concepts such as punctuality to knowing where and how to find information that you need. Today we are going to talk specifically about vocabulary. 

Every field, from plumbing to psychology, has its own terminology. Some terms will have common meanings in the world as a whole, but special meanings within a field. A professional knows these terms and their subtleties; a non professional most likely does not. 

Below, I'm including the list of "psychological" terms that we'll be discussing today. I thought it might be interesting to run it here as well. 


Affect vs Effect
Confident vs Confidant
Covert vs Overt
Councilor vs Counselor
Deductive vs Inductive
Discreet vs Discrete
Disinterested vs Uninterested
Envelop vs Envelope
Exhaustive vs Exhausted
Explicit vs Implicit
Extant vs Extent
Former vs Latter
Hallucination vs Delusion vs Illusion
Imply vs Infer
Manic vs Maniac
Nature vs Nurture
Obsession vs Compulsion
Positive vs Negative
Principal vs Principle
Psychotic vs Neurotic
Qualitative vs Quantitative
Sensation vs Perception
Simple vs Simplistic
Stereotype vs Prejudice
Stimulant vs Stimulus
Timber vs Timbre
Valid vs Reliable


mybillcrider said...

English across the curriculum. Speaking as an old retired English teacher, I love it.

mybillcrider said...

English across the curriculum. Speaking as an old retired English teacher, I love it.

X. Dell said...

I remember, back in the days where I spent my entire existence grading papers, that mistaking "effect" for "affect" (and vice-versa) was one of the most common errors I saw.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hopefully most of your class can tell the difference between those words.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bill, I see the poor vocabularies of many students being a real barrier to their success.

X. Dell, absolutely. And for that reason it's one of the first ones I talk about in all my classes.

Alex, many of them didn't do very well on it but I think they picked up some stuff today.

Spy Scribbler said...

Compliment and complement are another big one!

G. B. Miller said...

Funny, but my grammar/vocab didn't improve until I was an adult.

And some of those words still give me fits.


Travis Cody said...

The misuse of a word or phrase is a particular pet peeve of mine.

Charles Gramlich said...

Natasha, yes indeed. I will add that one.

G. B., I think most of my vocab actually came in childhood. Though I learned all the jargon terms of psychology once I was an adult.

Travis Cody, then grading student writing might not be the thing for you. :)

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, these are some of the most common mistakes I come across both in my work and at a personal level. Fortunately, I can spot the difference. I liked the fact that you called them "psychological" terms—didn't quite see it that way.

Ty said...

Coming from a journalism and publishing background, one of the interesting things I've noticed over the last 25 or so years is how my particular careers' jargon has become quite mainstream.

Until roughly the early 90s, I never heard anyone outside of the biz use simple words such as "font" or "pica" or "rule tape," at least not with the same meanings they had within publishing. I first noticed college students making use of the jargon, seemingly a segment of society early to jumping on the desktop publishing bandwagon. By the mid-90s, and definitely by the year 2000, I could hear my profession's jargon being used quite commonly online, even on the streets.

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, although many of them are commonly used, I feel like psychologists need to be familiar with most of them because they relate to our field in various ways.

Ty, Perhaps business and media are taking over the world. Their language will become "our" language. Their "thoughts" will become ours. :) Channeling a bit of SF maybe.

Ron Scheer said...

Affect-effect caused the most confusion in student papers over my many years of teaching. For me, the one not on your list is consist vs. comprise.

ivan said...

In all piety,
Jesu Cristo!

I would add, "Always say 'between you and Me' and not 'you and I,' dweeb.

BernardL said...

Very cool!

Charles Gramlich said...

Ron, I have the, consist/comprise one in my writing guidebook. Didn't put it on this list but I probably will add it. This list was done in a hurry.

Ivan, and if I refuse? :)

Bernard, thanks man.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This is a great list, Charles. I am going to pass it on to my husband to hand out.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, cool. It was an eye opener to many students.

jodi said...

Charles-those errors can be found often in our local newspaper. It kills me that it gets by proofreaders and editors!

Riot Kitty said...

OMG THANK YOU, can I plaster this list on the desk of, say, almost everyone I know?


the walking man said...

These students had to know how to read right? I mean use a dictionary and read with comprehension before they came to you, or do they go through a lot of remedial classes at the start?

I dunno maybe there are secret hidden Masonic meanings in most of those words but they seemed by and large fairly generic Charles. So how did the class go?

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, professionals aren't all they are cracked up to be these days.

Riot Kitty, glad to be of assistance!

Mark, students typically knew one of the two word pairs. Sometimes both. They don't use language precisely is the major problem.