16 Words You Could be Using Incorrectly

by South University 18 July 2014

Nothing can diminish your credibility faster than using the wrong word. Unfortunately, improper usage is so commonplace in today's world that it's not easy to determine which phrases and words are correct based upon the situation. Learning some of the more frequently confused words is a great way to check your current usage and avoid future mistakes.

Wrong or RightAdverse / Averse

Adverse means harmful, while averse means to oppose something or someone. These two are more than likely confused due to the word adversary, which means an opponent.

Correct uses: The stranger had adverse motives. / She is averse to the issue.
Sample sentence: She faced adverse conditions in her quest but felt averse to the alternative.

Allusion / Illusion

An allusion is an indirect reference to someone or something and an illusion is a deception.

Correct uses: He alluded to the error. / The magician performed an act of illusion.
Sample sentence: He made a wry allusion to the article's assertion that everything happening is pure illusion.

Complement / Compliment

Complement means adding to something. A compliment is a flattering remark or something given free of charge. Both words are positive, but complementary is primarily used when referencing design and aesthetics. Complimenting that design's beauty is something else.

Correct uses: Your blue shirt complements your eyes. / The critic gave a complimentary review.
Sample sentence: The art teacher complimented the child's broad use of complementary colors.

Complacent / Complaisant

Both words are used to negatively describe someone, but complacent means someone who is not concerned or apathetic. Complaisant is used to describe a follower who goes along with the crowd.

Correct uses: Congress's complacency angered many. / The child appeared complaisant with the bully's request.
Sample sentence: Noting the company's complacency about workers' wages, employees organized a strike that demonstrated their collective refusal of further complaisance.

Defuse / Diffuse

Defuse means to lessen a situation's harmfulness or danger, and it's also (not surprisingly) used to describe removing a bomb's actual fuse. Diffuse, on the other hand, means to scatter and can be used in adjective form to describe something that's widely spread.

Correct uses: We had to defuse the situation. / Those prescribed the medicine report diffuse complications.
Sample sentence: When a fire broke out at school, teachers struggled to defuse the chaos as the smoke diffused throughout the hallway.

Disburse / Disperse

Disburse means to distribute money, while disperse means to scatter (much like "diffuse" above). Since scattering money is typically frowned upon, it's important to ensure these words are not used interchangeably.

Examples of correct use: The committee met to discuss how to disburse funds. / Afterward, the crowd dispersed.
Sample sentence: When the manager's lengthy meeting on how to disburse refunds ended, the sales associates quickly dispersed.

Flounder / Founder

Although similar, flounder means to struggle, and founder means to sink or fail.

Correct uses: She has floundered this semester while balancing school and work responsibilities. / Despite their best efforts, the relationship foundered.
Sample sentence: The man floundered amidst the ocean's waves, and rescuers worked quickly to reach him before he foundered.

Alternative/ Alternate

Alternative is used to describe additional options. Alternate means every other one or taking turns.

Correct uses: One must consider the alternative. / To prevent burn-out, alternate between tasks.
Sample sentence: She didn't want to alternate driving responsibilities with her husband, but the alternative of hearing him complain made her reconsider.

Correctly differentiating between these commonly misused words supports the professionalism and overall integrity of your speech and written work.

Twitter is More than Just a Fun Networking Service

by South University 12 July 2014

By Guest Blogger, Ruth E. Roberman, Online Program Director for Mathematics

Do you have a Twitter account? Perhaps you follow your favorite baseball team, weather reporter, or newspaper, or maybe you use Twitter for your daily dose of cute puppy pictures. There are plenty of terrific sites that give you a quick blast of information and even a smile. Plus, you can read a lot of short tweets without writing or retweeting anything. However, have you also considered the career benefits of having a Twitter account? You never know what tweet might give you the next big idea for a paper, business, proposal, or job!

Twitter convo

As a way to really expand your Twitter feed each day, check out who you follow and see who they follow. Here are some ideas. Who do you recommend following?

Business and IT

Business Law Section of the ABA (@ABABusLaw)
Wall Street Journal Business News (@WSJbusiness)
Shark Tank (@ABCSharkTank)
Entrepreneur Wiki (@EntWiki)
Harvard Business Review (@HarvardBiz)
Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance)
Smashing Magazine (@smashingmag)

Health Sciences and Nursing

Mayo Clinic (@MayoClinic)
Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz)
Nurse Jobs (@Nursing_nursemp)
Nurses Association (@ANANursingWorld)
Cleveland Clinic (@ClevelandClinic)
American Cancer Society (@AmericanCancer)
NursingBuddy (@NursingBuddy)
Society for Science (@Society4Science)
RN Action (@RNAction)
Mental Health NIMH (@NIMHgov)

Legal and Criminal Justice

Above the Law (@atlblog)
American Bar Association (@ABAesq)
Legal Aid Service (@LegalAidService)
The National Law Journal (@TheNLJ)

Job Searching

Interview Success (@InterviewSuccess)
Yahoo Jobs (@YahooCareers)
Consider following companies you may be interested in working for some day.


South University (@SouthU)
South University, Online Programs (@SuCampusCommon)
Astro Pic Of The Day (@apod)
Popular Mechanics (@PopMech)
Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson)
Cute Emergency (@CuteEmergency)
Quote Soup (@Quote_Soup)
Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs)
TED Talks (@TEDTalks)
Graphic Design Junction (@graphicdesignju)
My Modern Metropolis (@mymodernmet)

South University is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any social media site linked to this Web site. The links are provided for your information and convenience only. South University does not endorse, support or sponsor the content of any linked social media sites. If you access or use any third party sites linked to South University’s Web site, you do so at your own riskSouth University makes no representation or warranty that any other social media site is free from viruses, worms or other software that may have a destructive nature.

Students & Alumni Speak about Online Learning

by South University 10 July 2014

Our students are always busy. Many have full-time jobs and family responsibilities—which is why they demand an online environment that’s flexible and that can work with their hectic schedules. It’s also why we designed our online degree programs to allow students to attend class and access their study materials any time of day from anywhere with internet access.


Hear more from our students and alumni about why they chose South University, Online Programs.

In Their Own Words

"The online courses at South University allowed me to receive my BSN and continue to work at the same time. I could log into my class at any time and from any where, when it was convenient for my schedule. Because of the easy access, convenience and availability of help when needed, I decided to return to South University, Online Programs to gain my MSN to become a Nurse Practitioner."
- Monica Peck, Bachelor of Science in Nursing 2012 graduate, Master of Science in Nursing student

"One of the main things that I enjoyed about attending South University, Online Programs was the flexible schedule it offered. I was able to start classes at my convenience without waiting a long period of time between breaks. At one point I had to take a three month break due to financial reasons, but I was able to immediately start back once I was ready."
- Joe Black, Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology, 2012 graduate

"The online experience is less rigid, much more flexible, but still has the same level of instructors as you have on the regular college campus. Plus, I like the ease of working at my own pace through assignments and at all hours of the day."
- Jack Siegel, Bachelor of Science in Health Science student

"I was working night shift at University Hospital, driving 65 miles one way to work, and raising 5 children, so I needed a program that allowed for flexibility in my busy schedule. Sitting in a brick and mortar school at a specified time for a few hours each week was not doable."
- Sandra Ross, Master of Science in Nursing, 2012 graduate

"I liked the convenience of taking classes online especially being a working mom and a military wife. My degrees have definitely opened up more job opportunities for me and I am very hopeful that once my family and I relocate with the military, my degrees from South University will continue to open up doors for me."
- Demetria Mills, Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, 2012 graduate

"I like the online environment because it is very convenient for students to work or attend to family and still earn their degree for future careers. The online classrooms are easy to navigate and the instructors are friendly and caring."
- Sherry Boyce, Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management student

"The motivation for me to pursue my education with South University was the flexibility of the courses and the care that the staff took to make sure my every step and my overall direction were geared toward achieving my goals in life."
- Tanisha Jones, MBA in Healthcare Administration, 2012 graduate

Learn more about South University, Online Programs today!

Announcing the Online Library Workshop Series

by South University 1 July 2014

In today’s digital age, knowing what information you need and then being able to find and evaluate this information is essential. As a student, it’s even more vital that you master these skills to ensure success on your academic journey.

Events Calendar

Whether you struggle with writing a thesis statement or locating credible resources for your assignments, the South University Online Library—and our staff—can help. Our Online Library staff has put together a series of training workshops that start this month and provide you with an opportunity to learn, develop and polish your research skills!

How to Perform College Level Research
Monday, July 7, 2014 | 11AM to 12PM EST or 7PM to 8PM EST
Learn to create research questions, conduct background research, form thesis statements and identify keywords.

Navigating the South University Online Library
Monday, July 14, 2014 | 11AM to 12PM EST or 7PM to 8PM EST
Learn how to use Library Search and other Online Library resources.

Finding Articles & Books Using Databases
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 11AM to 12PM EST or 7PM to 8PM EST
Learn how to use databases and eBooks in the Online Library.

Utilizing Research Guides
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 11AM to 12PM EST or 7PM to 8PM EST
Find out how to use our Research Guides for class-assignments and basic research.

Effectively Using the Internet to do Research
Monday, July 28, 2014 | 11AM to 12PM EST or 7PM to 8PM EST
Learn how to effectively use the internet to find credible resources outside the Online Library.

Evaluating Resources
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | 11AM to 12PM EST or 7PM to 8PM EST
Discover how to evaluate scholarly and popular resources and assess information for credibility.

Learn more and register now!

Check out the Events Page in the Campus Common to learn more about each event. To visit the Events page, log in to the Campus Common, hover over the Campus Life dropdown menu and select Events.

5 Steps to Take after You Graduate

by South University 24 June 2014

Getting to the end of a new degree and taking the stage to accept your honors takes a lot of hard work and effort, and you deserve to set some time aside to celebrate your accomplishment. However, as a recent graduate, it’s also the time to polish your professional appearance, so you can give yourself the best chance to put that new degree to good use.

Next Steps1: Establish a Professional Persona

Get a professional e-mail address. The cutesy, clever email address or the one featuring your nickname from high school should not be the one you use on resumes. You need a professional email account that includes your name -- without any frills -- in the address.

2: Safeguard Your Online Identity

Perform an Internet search on yourself and see what comes up. Look for anything objectionable, unprofessional, or otherwise disagreeable. If it’s your content, then remove it or reclassify it so it stays private. If it’s someone else’s content, ask them to remove it.

3: Make Your Smartphone a Career Resource

If you have a smartphone, start thinking about how you can be using it in your job search and professional career. Nancy Darling listed some excellent ideas in Psychology Today:

• Keep a PDF copy of your resume and your references on your phone.
• Use note-taking apps to capture job-hunting ideas and tasks.
• Take notes on any new professional contacts to help you remember who they are, what they can do for you, and what you can do for them.
• Enter the name and number of every organization you interview with, whether you have a specific person to maintain contact with or not.
• Update your recorded message to reflect the professional persona you want to project to possible employers.

Step 4: Master the Art of Professional Correspondence

If you haven’t learned how to write a professional letter or e-mail by now, then you need to learn quickly. If you have, then practice your skills until it becomes second nature. The ability to act polite and professional in person and over the phone is just as important. From the way you answer your phone to the subject line you choose for your email, one slip-up can cost you a job or an interview opportunity. Every correspondence should reflect the professional you want others to see you as.

Step 5: Keep in Touch with Your Colleagues & Allies

The professors, students, and employers who helped you get this far can also help you get closer to your goals. Keeping in touch with them will help you develop a network of professional allies that could last a lifetime. The easiest way to get started is to send a professional expression of your appreciation for the contributions they’ve already made to your life.