Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Idiot vs. Idiom

Idiot and idiom are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Idiot (pronounced “iddy-uht”) is a noun. It is an insult meaning a stupid or foolish person.

Idiom (pronounced “iddy-uhm”) is a noun. It is a common phrase that is not meant to be taken literally, but often describes an emotional condition or other unseen thing.

  • On pins and needles: a person is on edge, very nervous. A person might feel this way waiting to get accepted to college, waiting to get hired for a job, waiting to get approved for a loan.
  • See the light: a person has just realized something important or clarifying about their current circumstances. This implies that they had been wrong or deluded prior to this moment.
  • Check out more idiom meanings here.
  • Other languages also have idioms, some were explored in the book “I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears,” released in 2009.
  • TRIVIA: Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy did not understand phrases that could not be taken literally, like metaphors, similes, and idioms.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Twins Idi and Idal couldn’t be more different. Idal was a talented athlete, while Idi was a reader and more of a “mathlete.”

“You’re late for dinner!” his mother said.

“Man, practice ran late and I still have a paper to write for a book I’ve only half-read. I am going to have to burn the midnight oil to get it done.”

“What does oil have to do with anything? Why do you talk in such illogical phrases?”

It’s just an saying, Idi; it’s just an idiom.”

“You sound like an idiot.”

“It’s idiom.”

“I know what you said, I’m just saying its foolish. Just say what you mean.”

Their mother chided them both, “Idi, please stop giving your brother a hard time. And Idal, I am disappointed in you procrastinating on your schoolwork. That’s not a good habit to have.”

“Yeah, you’re really throwing me off schedule, Idal. We’re supposed to eat at 6:30. It’s now 7:30 and we’re just now eating.” 

“Idi, give it a rest.”

 

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Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Tiki vs. Teak

Tiki and teak are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Tiki (pronounced “tee-kee”) has multiple meanings.

  • In Polynesian belief, it means the first man of earth, like the biblical Adam.
  • It can mean a god or totem carving worn around the neck, or a much larger carving made from a tree trunk or stone surface.
  • In fashion and decor, it means a mishmash of idealized island culture that started in the 1930s, but became especially popular on the US mainland after WWII. Trader Vic’s bar is an example of Tiki culture. Decor that comes out every spring for decorating an apartment, house, or backyard pool also has tiki-related themes.

Teak (pronounced “teek”; rhymes with leek, peek, seek)

  • As a noun, it means a hardwood tree found in tropical climates. The wood is used for furniture and on boats. Unlike other woods, teak doesn’t react poorly with metal, and it also resists insect infestation.
  • As an adjective, it describes objects made from this wood.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Teague spared no expense for a spring break paradise-themed party. Authentic tiki sculptures, made from teak, lined the pool. Fresh catered food made from Caribbean and Polynesian themed recipes framed the bar serving Mexican beer and boat drinks. There were leis for everyone to wear. A lineup of the best local reggae and reggaeton artists would be performing at the party. This was going to be so dope.

 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Debit vs. Debt

Debit and debt are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Debit (pronounced “deb-iht”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it is a finance and accounting term. It means a subtracted amount from a bank account.
  • As an adjective, it describes a plastic card from the bank that deducts money from an attached bank account. Debits occur to the account as a person buys things by swiping their card and providing a PIN number. For example, debit cards, which were introduced in the 1960s, really took off with the adoption and prevalence of ATMs in the 1990s.  They have largely replaced writing personal checks for everyday expenses. Debit cards stop working if the money in the attached account runs out. Worse, the bank allows the customer to keep buying and charges fees for each overdraft made.
    • Prepaid debit cards, like gift cards from AMEX, Visa and other banking institutions, run on a similar debit system. The card buyer puts so much cash towards the card’s account. The recipient can use the card as long as cash remains in the card’s account. Once it’s all gone, though, the card is unusable. Typically these cards cannot be “reloaded” with new cash.

Debt (pronounced “det”) is a noun. It indicates an amount of money a person owes to someone else or to a business.

  • In the idiom, “I’m forever in your debt,” the speaker is indicating they owe the other person a big favor for their generosity, thoughtfulness, expedience, etc. For example, perhaps the speaker’s life was saved from drowning, or walking out in front of oncoming traffic.

Businesses and countries can also have debt. In the US, there’s a national debt clock in New York City that’s been there since 1989.

The following story uses both words correctly:

It was 1999. Debra was using a debit card to better manage her money as a twenty something enrolled in community college. Her older sister, Destiny, had a serious problem with credit card debt. This was making it hard for Destiny to buy a house or a more reliable car. Debra was trying to learn from her older sister’s mistakes.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Dept. vs. Debt

 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Cursor vs. Cursing

Cursor and cursing are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Cursor (ponounced “kuhr-sir”) is a noun. It is a computers/IT term. A cursor is the blinking vertical bar (or other icon) that indicates where typed information will appear on the screen. If the cursor is not in the right place, a mouse or touchpad will have to be used to move the cursor to the right place before typing in any more data. The mouse or touchpad has a floating “I” bar or arrow to indicate where it is positioned, eventually it disappears when you start typing.

For smartphones, the user’s fingers act like a mouse, so getting the cursor to appear in the type fields simply requires touching the screen in the appropriate place.

Cursing (pronounced “kuhr-sihng”) is the gerund form of the verb “curse.”

  • It can mean to damn someone or wish them an ill fate with the help of gods or supernatural forces.
  • It can mean to use profane or obscene language. For example, cursing is a consideration when rating US movies for mass consumption. Rated G (A for video games) is for all audiences. All ratings above G have language and other content issues.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Kyle’s Great Uncle Curtis was cursing a lot while trying to learn to use a modern computer with a touchpad. Great Uncle Curtis had arthritis, so poising his fingers over the touchpad was extremely uncomfortable. Kyle gave him an ergonomic mouse to help out. It was much easier to control where the cursor needed to go. Now Great Uncle Curtis just needed a larger screen in order to really see everything. 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Pancit vs. Pantsuit

Pancit and pantsuit are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Pancit (also spelled Pansit, pronounced “pan-siht”; rhymes with lancet) is a noun. It means a noodle dish from the Philippines featuring vegetables, egg, and small pieces of meat. As you can see from the linked page, there are hundreds of different recipes for pancit.

Pantsuit (pronounced “pant-soo-t”) is a fashion term. It refers to a matching jacket and pair of pants ensemble. “Pants” are emphasized because ladies’ suits often come with short pencil skirt and long skirt options as well.

The following story uses both words correctly:

At lunch, Pamella scarfed down a plate of pancit from a local foodtruck. But how did she avoid spilling anything on her brand new pantsuit? She changed into another top before lunch and hung the jacket up in her cube. She couldn’t take any chances on presentation day.

 

Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Of vs. Off

Of and off are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Of (pronounced “uhvv”; rhymes with love, dove) is a preposition. It is used to provide content, location, or origin of things.

For example:

  • In the story Robin Hood, the main character is referred to as “Robin of Loxley”
  • Joliet, Illinois is southwest of Chicago. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to drive one way.
  • For breakfast, I’ll order two eggs sunny side up, with a side of bacon
  • Grocery store items: hearts of palm, Oil of Olay

Off (pronounced “awff”; rhymes with scoff) has multiple meanings.

As an adverb, it immediately follows the verb and provides additional information. Usually it refers to removing clothing or covering, or disengaging the electricity of lighting or appliances.

  • Turn off the lights when you’re done in here.
  • Take off your hats during the Pledge of Allegiance.

As a preposition:

  • Get your elbows off the table.
  • Get your hands off of me.

As an adjective:

  • It describes someone whose guess, opinion, or viewpoint is not accurate.
    • That estimate was way off for the price of this car
  • It describes someone feeling unlike their normal selves, or unable to focus.
    • Sorry he was so rude, he’s feeling a little off today.
  • It describes someone free from their normal employment:
    • She’s off today, and she’ll be back next week.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Ophelia was feeling off all day after her breakup. Things improved when her bestie sent her flowers and had sushi delivered to her apartment. It was so nice to know she was being thought of during this tough time.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Hobbit vs. Habit

Hobbit and habit are easily confused words.

Hobbit (pronounced “hah-biht”) is a noun.

  • It is a fictional race of small people featured in English author JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings books, published in the 1940s. Peter Jackson made them into movies, which were released in the 2000s.
  • It is another term for a race of small statured primitive people, homo floresiensis. The remains were discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia in the early 2000s. Click here to learn more.

Habit (pronounced “hab-iht;” rhymes with rabbit) has multiple meanings.

  • It can mean an activity one does daily, religiously, or on a regular basis, often without thinking.
    • I have to quit my smoking habit this year!
    • Why can’t you break the habit of leaving the light on in the bathroom?
  • It can mean the clothes or costume of a particular job. Today it is used to refer to the tunics and robes of nuns and monks.
  • It can man clothes worn by women for horseback riding in the 1700s-1800s.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Habibah was thrilled with the Lord of the Rings and read it several times.. Once she got in the habit of dressing like some of her favorite book characters, she was nicknamed “the Hobbit” by the preppy kids at school. They just didn’t understand how cool reading was. It was the best escape from the cruel and shallow junior high social scene.