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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (November 19, 2007)

Foreign Expressions in English

English, like many other languages, includes words from others, especially for expressions that come from Latin, a language no longer spoken.

Here are the first two interesting expressions you might like to include in your writing. Be careful, however, not to use them only to show off!

Ad hoc:

An interesting expression taken from Latin it may mean "For this purpose, to this end; for the particular purpose in hand or in view." It can also mean "to improvise . . . as a deliberate means of avoiding long-term policy."—from Oxford English Dictionary.

E.g., "We formed an ad hoc group devoted to studying the problem of recycling in the high school.

E.g., "Their ad hoc approach to the problems made it more difficult to solve it forever." (second meaning)

Per se:

Another Latin expression that means, "By or in itself, themselves, or (now rarely) himself or herself; without reference to anything (or anyone) else; intrinsically."—OED

E.g., "Although we may not reject his ideas about women per se, we still object to the way they are presented in a sneering tone."

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