Animwaa Anim-Addo: Kojo, you have missed me.
Kojo Yankson: Er… if you insist
Animwaa Anim-Addo: I do. And I’ve got a gift for you. Two, in fact.
Kojo Yankson: Two gifts? Then I just might have missed you after all. What are these two gifts of which you speak?
Animwaa Anim-Addo: Two words that have different meanings, but are often mistaken for one another.
Kojo Yankson: Oh right. Which words are those?
Animwaa Anim-Addo: Adopt and adapt
Kojo Yankson: Of course! I do often hear people say adapt when they mean adopt.
Animwaa Anim-Addo: Yes, Adopt means to legally take and bring up another’s child. it also means to accept something for general use – like a set of rules or statutes.
Kojo Yankson: So you could say “the committee shall adopt the proposed standing orders with immediate effect”.
Animwaa Anim-Addo: Correct. You would not say “the committee shall adapt the proposed standing orders with immediate effect”. Adopt means something else entirely.
Kojo Yankson: That’s right. Adapt means to alter something to make it suitable for a different use or a new purpose. It can also mean to adjust to new circumstances or conditions
Animwaa Anim-Addo: So you could say “the bereaved family had to adapt to life without their breadwinner”
Kojo Yankson: Perfect. Now, we can all say it right.