What’s in a word?

English is now an ubiquitous language in India and almost a must-know to get a ‘decent’ job. This may be the reason why spoken English classes flourish in many cities.

This post is prompted by a genuine query by my colleague: ‘What is the difference if any between chemist/pharmacist/druggist’. I am not an English teacher nor was English my major for graduation. Yet I admit many of us use these words interchangeably.

A little research showed that a chemist is one who excels in chemistry
Pharmacist is one who has studied pharmacy and dispenses medicines, Some ‘mix’ medicines as per a doctor’s prescription.
A druggist is a person trained to prepare and dispense drugs.

This suggests that pharmacist and druggist may be used interchangeably yet we almost always visit a ‘chemist’ to buy our medicines.
Do we ‘speak to’ a person or ‘speak with’ a person?
There is a difference in US or UK English usage for many words as well.

English teachers and purists rue modern English saying it is a poor abbreviated version of the language thanks to texting and other such avenues of ‘brief’ communication.

Does it really matter which words we use/how we spell as long as the meaning is correct?

As someone said, a few years later, the maximum number of people speaking English in the world may decide which words are used and how. That’s some food for thought for powerful developed nations!
What do you think?

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