Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Alleviate or ameliorate

with 2 comments

Modern drug ampoules
Image via Wikipedia

‘Alleviate’ means to make something easier to bear or less severe, for example:

The drugs alleviated her pain.

He hoped to alleviate her grief by praying with her.

‘Ameliorate’ means to make something better, to improve, or to amend. For example:

The chaotic system was ameliorated by the new boss.

You can’t use ‘ameliorate’ to mean ‘alleviate’ or vice versa.

More commonly confused words


Written by Wordwatch

03/12/2009 at 5:09 pm

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I knew this one! 🙂

  2. I thought you would, Vikas! Despite your modesty about your English language skills, you do have an excellent command of the language.


    04/12/2009 at 8:43 am

Your questions and comments are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: