7 English Words And Phrases Ghanaians Use Interchangeably

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Try correcting a Ghanaian on the pronunciation of some basic English words and get yourself a well-cooked plate of insult or he/she will tell you to the face, “English is not my mother tongue.”

English may not be our mother tongue but it’s our official language so if you want to speak it, make sure you are saying the right things. For instance, when you use compliment in place of complement, the meaning of what you are saying changes completely from what you may have intended.

Take note of these English words and phrases so you don’t embarrass yourself wherever you may be.

1. Dash vs. Dish out

It is typical of the average Ghanaian to say “dash it to me” when he or she actually wants you to gift him or her the subject in question. In this context, ‘Dish Out’ means, to give out (something) or dispense freely. On the other hand, ‘Dash’ has many meanings including a sudden rush.



2. Potable vs. Portable

Homophones can be quite tricky as they make two words sound alike despite their meanings. Potable is different from Portable, however, both are adjectives. Potable is used to describe any liquid that is safe for drinking. So when I say “there is no potable water in this area,” what it means is, the water in the area is not safe for drinking.

Portable, on the other hand, is a term used to refer to an item that can be easily carried or moved, because of it being a lighter and smaller version than usual.



3. On heat vs. Arouse

The phrase ‘on heat’ is used to describe a female animal that is ready to accept a male for crossing (to have sex) and is able to become pregnant. Human beings, however, get aroused, therefore, it is wrong to say “I am on heat” unless of course, you want to refer to yourself as an animal.

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4. Advice vs. Advise

Do you want to advise him or do you want to give him an advice? Seen the difference? Advise is a verb and Advice is a noun. So know when to use them appropriately.



5. Stationary vs. Stationery

Despite same pronunciation, the difference between stationary and stationery is A and E. Stationary with an A means fixed in a position, not moving. Whereas stationery with an E refers to materials (such as paper, pens, and ink) for writing or typing.



6. Lunch vs. Launch

To set something in motion or to introduce a new product is referred to as launching.

Lunch is the main meal eaten in between breakfast and supper, mostly in the afternoon before 4 pm.



7. High-end vs. High Earning

A high-end item is of superior quality or sophistication and usually high in price.

‘High earning’ is used to describe a job or whatsoever that pays more in terms of profit/salary.

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Acknowledgement: Merriam-Webster – online dictionary.