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 (pronounced “kawn-tackt”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to touch or communicate with, the act of connecting physically or verbally.
  • As a 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.
  • As an adjective, it describes something touching something else in order to function. For example, a contact lens is a vision correction device worn on the eye as an alternative to eyeglasses.

Contract (pronounced “kawn-trackt”) is a noun. It means a legally binding agreement between businesses or other parties, typically requiring signature of those parties as acknowledgement that agreement has been made.

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.

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