I was going to post something here about one of my walks into town, until I thought about how to describe the number of times I do this activity. Isn’t it funny how sometimes the brain let’s you down and hides the word you are looking for from you. You know you know the word you want to use, but it just won’t come to you.
I was trying to think of a word meaning I carry out an activity twice a week, and all I could think of was ‘biweekly’. As I walk into town at least twice a week, would I be right in using the word ‘biweekly’?
When I said ‘biweekly’, would readers think I meant once a fortnight; once every second week or twice a week?
Had I got the right word?
I thought about the word as I was walking. She Who Must Be Obeyed would use a similar word, ‘biannual’, when talking about gardening. However she meant once every two years. I thought before I make yet another fool of myself, I’d better look the word up. So here is one definition I found of the word ‘biweekly’:
1. Coming out every two weeks: produced or appearing every two weeks
2. Coming out twice per week: produced or appearing twice a week
1. Once every two weeks: at two-week intervals
2. Twice per week: twice during a one-week period
Well, I thought, that really clears it up!
So just how many times is biweekly?
Confusion is caused by the fact that biweekly, bimonthly, and biyearly can mean either “once every two weeks (or months or years)” or “twice a week (or month or year)”.
I guess to avoid doubt, it is better to reword the sentence. In my case, I walk in to town at least twice a week as opposed to I walk in to town biweekly (meaning walking in to town once every two weeks).
No wonder people say English is one of the hardest languages to learn. Let’s face it, a lot of the English can’t even work out the difference between the words “their”, “there” and “they’re”. I’ll bet you’ve seen it before; the incorrect use of such words.
“Where are the children?”
“Their over they’re playing with there toys”.
So what hope have we got with a word which can actually be taken two different ways?
And my confusion didn’t end there.
I was in a shop and noticed that this store had one toilet for all the customers. Yes, one. Not one for ladies and one for gentlemen.
To be shared by everyone; men, women, boys, girls and disabled. Needless to say, there was quite a queue. And because I had the word ‘biweekly’ in my head I suddenly found myself thinking how strange it was that a shop should have a bisexual toilet!