Welcome to another #glossaryday (I’m going to keep using it until it catches on!). Today in the Glossary of Confusing Words we have two very colloquial terms that you submitted.
ASAP is actually an abbreviation. It stands for “as soon as possible,” and you would use it when you want someone to do something quickly.
“Can you get that draft to me ASAP? I need to edit it before the meeting.”
ASAP is normally pronounced by reading out each of its letters, but you’ll sometimes hear it pronounced “ay-sap” (the letter a, followed by the word sap).
Either way you want to pronounce it, be careful when and how you use it. It can sound bossier to ask someone to do something ASAP than it would to ask them to do it quickly.
“Nother” is sometimes used as a substitute for the word “other,” particularly in the phrase “a whole other.”
“That’s a whole other problem.”
“That’s a whole nother problem.”
There’s absolutely no difference in the meaning of these two sentences. The first one is grammatically correct, but in informal conversation, you definitely might hear the second one as well.
You would never write the word “nother” in anything official or scholarly, and you probably wouldn’t even use it in an email with a friend (although of course they’d understand what you meant and wouldn’t judge you for writing it). It’s just sort of a quirk of spoken language.
Have a word to suggest for our Glossary of Confusing Words? We’ve got a few in the queue, but are always excited to get suggestions, especially of words you might come across when applying to schools in the U.S. Submit your words in the comments, or using the form below.