The Vocabulary of Politics is Confusing

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The vocabulary of politics is confusing


The vocabulary of politics confuses people


The vocabulary of politics makes people confused.

“Liberal” – an Example of Confusing Vocabulary

Here is an example:

The word “liberal has separate nuances in the United States of America, the UK and Australia.

The United Kingdom

In the UK, the word “liberal” has a simple straightforward meaning. It means you accept the rights and freedoms of other people to do what they want. It means you do not believe in restricting or limiting the rights and lifestyles of other people. You could sum it up with the phrase:

Live and let live.

The United States of America

In the United States the word “liberal” has a negative connotation. It means:

“weak, foolish or naively stupid”

in political matters.


In Australia the word “liberal” is in the name of one of the major political parties, which is in government at present.

The Liberal Party of Australia

It is called the Liberal Party but it is most similar to the Conservative party in Britain. The Labor Party is more liberal than the Liberal Party on social issues. In Australia the Liberal party is conservative so in a sense, “liberal” means “conservative”.

The Meaning of “Liberal” – a Summary

We see that in the US “liberal” means “foolish”.

In the UK “liberal” means “freedom-loving and tolerant”.

In Australia, “liberal” means “conservative”.

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Political Parties

Look at the names of the political parties below:

Australian Political Parties

In Australia the biggest political parties are:

The Liberal Party

The Labor Party

The National Party

Some Smaller Political Parties

Some smaller parties are:

One Nation

The Greens

American Political Parties

In the US the largest parties are:

The Republican Party (The Grand Old Party)

The Democratic Party – The Democrats

British Political Parties

In the UK the largest parties are

The Labor Party

The Conservative Party (the Tory party)

A Question about Political Parties

What are the political parties in your country?

Tell us the names of the large parties and some smalls one too. Try to translate the names into English. Write the names in the comments section below.

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Double Meaning of “Party”

You can see that the word “party” has two distinct meanings. It can refer to:

a political party


a dance party

a drinking party

a wedding party

a birthday party

a house-warming party

One meaning is a group of politicians with similar views. The other meaning is a celebration or festival.

The Grammar of Confusion

In the phrase:

The vocabulary of politics is confusing

the word “confusing” is an adjective.

Let’s look at the word family of this very common word:

Word Family – Confusion

confusion – noun
confused – adjective
confusing – adjective
confuse – verb
confuses – verb (third person)
confused – verb (past tense)

Two Adjectives

Note that there are two adjectives. They form a pair of “ed/ing” adjectives.

Pairs of Adjectives

Here are some more:

bored – boring
interested – interesting
confused – confusing
frustrated – frustrating
excited – exciting

“Ed” and “ing” Adjectives

Note that the “ing” adjective means the subject is putting out the action or feeling of confusion.

With the “ed” adjective, the adjective shows that the noun has received the action or feeling of confusion. Compare these:

a confusing problem

a confused student

Click the links for more lessons

More Lessons

Much of Meaning is in context.

Truth is the Foundation of All Human Virtues

Running your own business is a Juggling Act

Life is Beautiful

Selfishness and Altruism

Have you Heard the News?
Having, Owning and Possessing

Change is the Only Constant
It takes a long time to settle in

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