Biannual vs. Biennial

Today’s Tip of the Day was sent in by Gilbert Ruegg, a loyal member of the Peanut Gallery and official FOJ (Friend of Jeanne).

Biannual: means occurring twice a year

Biennial: means occurring every two years or lasting for two years

Because these can easily be confused with each other, I prefer to use “semiannual” (Note: there is no hyphen) rather than biannual, which means occurring every six months, which works out to twice a year. However, if the event happens twice a year but not six months apart, biannual would be preferred.

Example:
“Back to School” happens in August and January every year here in Texas, i.e., twice a year, but not strictly semiannually, which would be July and January. And we are darn glad we don’t have to go to school in the “dog days” of July!
_____________________________________________

Here’s another example Mom sent me of how human brains work to help unravel something that a computer would see as gibberish.

Can you raed this? Olny 55 people out of 100 can.
I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg.
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word
are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit
pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a
pboerlm. This is bcuseaethe huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef,
but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling
was ipmorantt!

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