Saturday, December 26, 2015

reticent/hesitant: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Saturday, December 26, 2015

“Reticent” most often means “reluctant to speak.” It can also mean “reserved” or “restrained,” though conservatives prefer to use it to apply only to speech. If you’re feeling nervous about doing something, you’re hesitant: “I’m hesitant about trying to ride a unicycle in public.” “Hesitant” is by far the more common word; so if you hesitate to choose between the two, go with “hesitant.”

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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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