Sometimes people like to use fancy words to impress others, especially when their photo and name accompany the piece of technical writing and lots of people are going to see it.
I ran across one such example this week:
“… for some unbeknownst reason ….”
I thought the word “unknown” would work better there, but I wasn’t sure why (other than for simplicity’s sake), so I looked up both words in the trusty dictionary.
Unbeknownst means happening without the knowledge of the person. It is usually used with the word “to” immediately following it.
Unbeknownst to the employees, the CEOs of the two oil companies had worked out a merger agreement while playing golf together over the weekend.
Unknown, on the other hand, means not known or not well-known.
It also means having an unknown value, like a variable in an equation or a mystery sample in a chemistry…
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