Easily Confused Words: Moral vs. Morel

Moral and Morel are homophones and easily confused words. The spell-check application in most word-processing programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check merely looks for words missing letters or misplaced letters. It doesn’t notice when you used one word that sounds identical to the word you actually needed.

Moral is a noun. It refers to an ethical standard or other rule of conduct. When children are small, some stories have lessons those children are supposed to gather from the tale. These lessons are stated at the end of the story as “the moral of the story.”

Morel is also a noun; it’s a type of edible mushroom found in the woods from March to May. Morels are white and stalk-shaped. Their top portion has a spongy or sea coral looking texture. Inedible mushrooms often look like inflated umbrellas. If you aren’t an experienced mushroom hunter, you’ll want to join a seasoned hunter for what to look for and what to leave in the forest.

If there was a fairy tale about a mushroom, its moral might say don’t judge a morel by it’s unusual appearance, it could surprise you and be a real fungi.

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Easily Confused Words: Exercise vs. Exorcise

Exercise and exorcise are easily confused words.

The spell-check in word processing programs doesn’t check homophone errors. What spell-check does is look for the words that aren’t in its internal dictionary, and words that aren’t spelled like those in its internal dictionary. If you used a word that exists and that word is spelled correctly, spell-check continues scanning. Spell-check doesn’t ask about context. Autocorrect on phones is also clumsy in its attempts to guess what you want to say next.

Exercise (pronounced “ehx-uhr-size”) is a verb. It primary meaning is to perform physical activities for health benefits. Other meanings include performing a task or practicing legal responsibilities, like voting.

As a noun, exercise is a practice piece one performs as a closer step toward mastery, like musical exercises.

Exorcise (pronounced “ehx-or-size”) is a verb. It means a religious ritual performed to get demons that are believed to be possessing a person to leave that person’s body.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Voters exercise their right to vote, but many wish they could exorcise their representatives of the foolish demons that seem to possess them once they are in office.

Easily Confused Words: Higher vs. Hire

Higher and hire are homophones and easily confused words. Spell-check in word processing programs doesn’t check homophone errors. What spell-check does is look for the words that aren’t in its internal dictionary, and words that aren’t spelled like those in its internal dictionary. If you used a word that exists and that word is spelled correctly, spell-check continues scanning. Spell-check doesn’t ask about context. Autocorrect on phones is also clumsy in its attempts to guess what you want to say next.

Higher is an adjective and an adverb. For clarification, it’s an adjective when you talk about higher interest rates, higher education. It’s an adverb when you say the lost balloon climbed higher and higher into the sky, or someone’s aiming higher than most with his career goals.

Hire is a verb, it means to select someone to perform work for you, or on your business’ behalf.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Hilda was told a candidate’s higher education made all the difference when companies wanted to hire. She had yet to see that theory confirmed in her own experience as a job seeker. 

What Does It Mean? Scope Creep

Scope Creep is a phrase used in project management. It occurs when the original goals of the project are shifted to encompass more work BEFORE the original work has been completed. It’s applicable to any field where a client has hired an individual or a firm to complete a project.

How does it happen? After the work got started, the client realized they had more, related work they wanted done. The client wants to go ahead and add it to the list of work currently being done. This isn’t a irrational request, and maybe the client spoke up because they didn’t want to set it aside for a month only to forget about it. It can’t hurt while it’s top of mind to ask, right?

I think it can hurt, though, to accept the new work too soon without reassessing what’s required and what that costs. Anytime anyone is asked to do more than originally assigned, they need to take a moment, reassess the time that will be required for the newly added work, totally rewrite the contract’s deliverables section if need be, and renegotiate their payment terms if need be. Everyone on the team needs to know what the new deliverables are, if that’s handled verbally between the client and just one team member, no one’s on the team is on the same page any more. The project could easily fail due to a simple communication breakdown like this one.

Maybe individuals or firms are afraid to be assertive and say no because they are afraid of losing the whole contract, especially for a high-profile client. But I find failing to set limits and boundaries early on leads to more and more work, and more and more grief, for less and less pay.

Is that what anyone wants long term? I don’t think so.

Scope Creep in real life:

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Easily Confused Words: Deference vs. Difference

Deference and Difference are easily confused words. The spell-check of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up among these three words. As long as it’s a word and it is spelled correctly, spell-check keeps on scanning the document.

Deference is a noun. It means behavior that shows dutifulness and consideration of a superior’s point of view.

Difference is a noun usually referring to a point of comparison of two or more things sizes, qualities, volumes, etc. It means the opposite of similarity. In math, the difference is also the answer that results from subtracting one number from another.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Sonia noticed a significant difference in new employee attitudes at work: while Delilah showed her utmost deference in issues great and small, Desmond was more of an independent thinker. 

Easily Confused Words: Fir and Fur

Fir and fur are easily confused words. The spell-check of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up among these three words. As long as it’s a word and it is spelled correctly, spell-check keeps on scanning the document.

Fir is a noun. It means a type of tree that has spiny needles for leaves and that reproduces via cones. Firs, spruces and pines are classified as conifers. Along with their unique leaves and cones, conifers are known for thriving in cold, mountainous climates, remaining green throughout the winter, and having a triangular body shape.

Fur is a noun. It means the soft hair covering of most mammals, and many marsupials. It also means fuzzy fabrics designed to imitate actual fur.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Felicity’s favorite things at Christmas were picking out a fir tree for decorating, and wearing her luxurious white fur coat and hat everywhere she went.

 

Easily Confused Words: Contact vs. Contract

Contact and Contract are easily confused words. The spell-check application of most word processing software wouldn’t catch a slip-up of these two words. If it’s a word and it’s spelled correctly, spell-check keeps looking for what it sees as the real mistakes. Autocorrect is also not perfect, it anticipates what’s about to be written and doesn’t think about context or the relationship of the person to whom you are writing. So, for clarification:

Contact is a verb. It means to touch or communicate with, the act of connecting physically or verbally.

Contact is also noun. It means two or more things being within touching or communicating distance of each other; being a go-to communication method or source, as in “method of contact” and “point of contact,” respectively.

Contract is a noun. It means a legally binding agreement between businesses or other parties, typically requiring signature of those parties as acknowledgement.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Conrad made it his mission to contact all parties involved in the contract to review its terms, and confirm everyone had a mutual understanding of what those terms meant.