A group of letters or speech sounds that looks or sounds like a word but that is not accepted as such by native speakers.
- ‘About half the letter strings constitute valid words, which are randomly interspersed with non-words.’
- ‘Words are confusing, but they're nothing compared to non-words, mainly because non-words lead to rash assumptions and misunderstandings.’
- ‘The task was simply to indicate if the last word was a word or a non-word.’
- ‘And who was the P.T. Barnum-like genius who fused the word Confederate with the non-word rama?’
- ‘Page 57 advises the use of non-words like ‘irregardless’ and ‘ironical’ as a good way to convince opponents that you're not very bright and thus not a threat.’
We take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks.