Word Confusion: Knew versus New

Posted August 28, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This particular heterographic confusion is fairly close in how it’s spelled, well, considering you need to add a k, that is. New is all around us, in context, as a word denoting new this, new that. New ingredients, new products, new this year.

I knew that people confused words, but with this proliferation of new everything and anything, I find it difficult to understand how anyone cannot know the difference between these two words.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Knew New
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“If Women Only Knew” by Cayuga Pictures / Robertson-Cole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ad for the American film If Women Only Knew (1921) with Robert Gordon and Virginia Lee (1901 – 1996), from page 10 of the May 8, 1921 Film Daily.

“New” by Neji is his own work [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Past tense of: know

Verb; Verb, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: knows
Past participle: known
Gerund or present participle: knowing

Adjective; Adverb; Noun
Be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information

Verb, intransitive:
Have knowledge or information concerning

Verb, transitive:
Have knowledge or information concerning

  • Be absolutely certain or sure about something
  • Have developed a relationship with someone through meeting and spending time with them
  • Be familiar or friendly with
  • Have a good command of a subject or language
  • Recognize someone or something
  • Be familiar or acquainted with something
  • Have personal experience of an emotion or situation
  • [Usually, be known as] Regard or perceive as having a specified characteristic
  • [Usually, be known as] Give someone or something a particular name or title
  • [Know someone/something from] Be able to distinguish one person or thing from another

[Archaic] Have sexual intercourse with someone 1

Not existing before

Made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time

  • Not previously used or owned
  • Of recent origin or arrival
  • [Of food or drink] Freshly or recently produced
  • [Of vegetables] Dug or harvested early in the season

Already existing but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time

  • [New to] Unfamiliar or strange to someone
  • [New to/at; of a person] Inexperienced at or unaccustomed to doing something
  • Different from a recent previous one
  • In addition to another or others already existing
  • [In place names] Discovered or founded later than and named after

Just beginning or beginning anew and regarded as better than what went before

  • [Of a person] Reinvigorated or restored
  • Superseding another or others of the same kind, and advanced in method or theory
  • Reviving another or others of the same kind

Anew, afresh (often used in combination)

Something that is new

A new object, quality, condition, etc.

I knew about the birds.

Verb, intransitive:
He knew of our new instructions.

Verb, transitive:
I knew she was going to be late.

Oh, yeah, he knew her all right.

new crop varieties

This tendency is not new.

A secondhand bus cost a fraction of a new one.

a new baby

new potatoes

Come see Marty’s new bike.

a way of living that was new to me

I’m quite new to gardening.

I have a new assistant.

This would be her new home.

recruiting new pilots overseas.

New York

starting a new life

the new South Africa

A bottle of pills would make him a new man.

the new architecture

the New Bohemians

[Usually in combination with a hyphen]

new-mown hay

new-fallen snow

The valley was green with new-planted crops.

roses new washed with dew

A fascinating mix of the old and the new.

Ring out the old, ring in the new.

Adjective: knowable
Noun: ken, knower
Verb: ken, know, known, knowing
Verb, modal: can
Adjective: newer, newest
History of the Word:
Old English cnāwan (earlier gecnāwan) meaning recognize, identify is of Germanic origin and from an Indo-European root shared by the Latin (g)noscere and the Greek gignōskein.

1 A Hebraism that has passed into modern languages; compare with the German erkennen and the French connaître.

Before 900

Old English nīwe, nēowe, of Germanic origin.

It’s related to Dutch nieuw and German neu from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit nava, Latin novus, and Greek neos, all meaning new.

Middle English newe.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Somehow, know has a number of conflicts within homonyms, and you may want to explore other posts that include know or no, including Know versus No, Know How versus Knowhow, and Knows vs Noes vs Nose.

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

How Do You Say: “I knew you would say that” by TalkToMeInKorean is a YouTube video.