Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television
Faint / Feint
I must confess to this being one I have to pause and check sometimes. The words are pronounced identically but have very different meanings. Sometimes I even confuse the dual meanings of one of the words.
Faint: has two slightly similar means. Firstly, it is something vague. Faded pencil scribblings are faint, an image on a photograph is faint. Secondly, when you collapse (such as swooning) that too is faint. I have sometimes used feint to mean the first instance but it actually means…
Feint: A deception, usually a sporting gesture to pretend to do something but do the opposite – usually used on sport or on the battlefield. For example a boxer might start to throw a jab as a feint but at the last second pull back and throw a hook with his other hand, his opponent anticipating the jab has taken the wrong defensive stance.