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The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It * How to Deliver It by Richard Dowis

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Ultimate/penultimate

Ultimate means last and it often connotes superiority, especially when it appears in advertising copy, as in "The ultimate [the last word] in men's clothing." Penultimate means next-to-last, nothing more. It carries no connotation of superiority. So the actress who won an Oscar and gushed, "This is the penultimate experience of my life," surely was not to be taken literally.

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