People generally know what “imitate” means, but they sometimes don’t understand that “emulate” is a more specialized word with a purely positive function, meaning to try to equal or match. Thus if you try to climb the same mountain your big brother did, you’re emulating him; but if you copy his habit of sticking peas up his nose, you’re just imitating him.
This is the tenth year of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.
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