Don’t Torture Me
Posted by languageandgrammar on April 29, 2009
Sometimes, learning grammar rules can be torturous. Or is it tortuous?
Be careful with these two words; the second “r” makes all the difference. Torturous has torture as its root, and it means that something is very painful, that is, causes torture. Having to sit through a 45-minute meeting on the evils of using the word “problem” instead of “issue” when talking to clients was torturous.
Tortuous (without the second “r”) refers to something that has many twists and turns, as in Malibu Canyon is a tortuous road. Tortuous also can refer to something that has many twists and turns psychologically, that is, is circuitous, as in His argument was so tortuous that I never quite saw his point—except for the one clearly perched on top of his head.
So, is learning grammar rules torturous or tortuous? I suppose depending on who’s doing the teaching, it can be both.
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