March 04, 2012
alternate (noun)
\AWL-ter-nut\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a person named to take the place of another when necessary
How do you use it?
Rarely does a winner refuse his or her award in the Annual Draw a Cartoon of Yourself contest, but should it happen, the alternate will be awarded the prize.
Are you a word wiz?

Which of the sentences below uses the noun "alternate" correctly? Be careful! One of the sentences could trick you.

Nothing takes the place of answer B; it correctly uses the noun "alternate." Answer A is not the right answer because although it is grammatically correct, it uses the verb "alternate" (pronounced \AWL-ter-nayt\) instead of the noun, which is our Buzzword today. The verb "alternate" means "to change from one to another repeatedly." As for sentence C, it should be altered to read, "One small change could alter the results of the experiment," since "alter" means "to change partly but usually not completely." And in sentence D, "alternate" could be replaced with "altercate," because it means "to dispute angrily or noisily," or "wrangle."
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