“Fortuitous” events happen by chance; they need not be fortunate events, only random ones: “It was purely fortuitous that the meter reader came along five minutes before I returned to my car.” Although fortunate events may be fortuitous, when you mean “lucky,” use “fortunate.”
When the vibration of a wheel is reduced it is damped, but when you drive through a puddle your tire is dampened. “Dampened” always has to do with wetting, if only metaphorically: “The announcement that Bob’s parents were staying home after all dampened the spirits of the party-goers.” The parents are being a wet blanket.
Your conscience makes you feel guilty when you do bad things, but your consciousness is your awareness. If you are awake, you are conscious. Although it is possible to speak of your “conscious mind,” you can’t use “conscious” all by itself to mean “consciousness.”
“I was told I could board the airplane subject to a security scan.”
“At the airport I was subjected to a humiliating search.”
Does it help you to distinguish between these expressions to know that “subject” in the first example is an adjective and“subjected” in the second example is a verb? Didn’t think so.
Although these two expressions can sometimes be switched with only a slight change in meaning, they are not equivalent. To be subjected to some sort of treatment is to actually be treated in that way, usually in an objectionable way.
But to be subject to a regulation, to taxes, to discussion, to inspection, to any sort of condition, is to be liable to it. In some contexts, the conditional action is mandatory: “Shipment will be made subject to approval of your charge card.” In others, the conditional action may be theoretical, not uniformly enforced: “This Web page is subject to change.” Many people mistakenly use “subjected to” in this sort of context.
People often encounter these two words first in college, and may confuse one with the other although they have almost opposite connotations. “Aesthetic” (also spelled “esthetic”) has to do with beauty, whereas “ascetic” has to do with avoiding pleasure, including presumably the pleasure of looking at beautiful things.
St. Francis had an ascetic attitude toward life, whereas Oscar Wilde had an esthetic attitude toward life.
A critique is a detailed evaluation of something. The formal way to request one is “give me your critique,” though people often say informally “critique this”—meaning “evaluate it thoroughly.” But “critique” as a verb is not synonymous with “criticize” and should not be routinely substituted for it. “Josh critiqued my backhand” means Josh evaluated your tennis technique but not necessarily that he found it lacking. “Josh criticized my backhand” means that he had a low opinion of it.
You can write criticism on a subject, but you don’t criticize on something, you just criticize it.
Ships used to chart their progress by heaving overboard a chunk of wood (the “log”) trailing a line and measuring how much of it unspooled in a given length of time. This allowed them to record the rate of the ship’s progress through the water. The resulting figures were recorded in a “log-book,” which was later abbreviated to “log.” The word’s meaning shifted from the device floating in the water to the book in which progress was recorded. “Log” also became a verb, referring to the process of making entries in a log-book. In modern times the word drifted away from seafaring matters to refer to any record of progress created out of periodic entries.
Around the turn of the millennium, keepers of journals on the World Wide Web began to shorten the term “Web log” to “blog,” and to refer to the activity of keeping a blog as “blogging.” The common term referring to a single entry in a blog is “post” (short for “posting”). But “post” is also a verb: you post an entry to your blog. Amidst all this overlapping terminology many confused people have begun to refer to the individual entries as “blogs,” writing ”I made a new blog today” when they mean “I put a new post on my blog today.”