WHEN you question someone, you may ask a series of questions trying to arrive at the truth: “MACC officers questioned Tom for five hours before he admitted to altering the company accounts.”
“Question” can also mean “challenge”: “His mother questioned Timmy’s claim that the cat had eaten all the chocolate chip cookies.” But if you are simply asking a question to get a bit of information, it is not appropriate to say “I questioned whether he had brought the anchovies” when what you really mean is “I
asked whether he had brought the anchovies.”
TAKEN BACK/TAKEN ABACK
When you’re startled by something, you’re taken aback by it. When you’re reminded of something from your past, you’re taken back to that time.
As time goes on, we are less and less likely to record sound or video
onto a physical electromagnetic tape. More and more often, such recordings are made onto computer hard drives or solid-state devices.
Yet the word “tape” lives on to label the activity involved. We say we are going to tape an interview, tape a dance recital, or tape a new
greeting for our voice mail, even when no tape is involved.
Medical personnel often mistakenly refer to a patient’s abdomen as “taunt” rather than the correct “taut.” “Taunt” (“tease” or “mock”) can be a verb or noun, but never an adjective. “Taut” means “tight, distended,” and is always an adjective. “Taut” is also occasionally misspelled “taught.”
Don’t confuse “taunt” with “tout,” which means “promote,” as in “Senator Brookes has been touted as a Presidential candidate.” You tout somebody you admire and taunt someone that you don’t.