Easily Confused Words: Insight vs. Incite

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

Insight is a noun. It means an awareness or vision for traits and characteristics of others. These traits aren’t seen with the eye, or verbally shared by the other person or thing.

Incite is a verb. It means to inspire, to motivate behavior of others. Usually incite is used to describe human behavior.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Janet felt she lived in a reckless, turbulent era: it seemed people incited violence to get their point across, and they lacked the insight to realize violence made things worse not better.

*=insight should not be confused with in(space)sight, which is an adverb phrase meaning “visible or within view.”

This post relates to another one: Easily Confused Words: Indict vs. Incite.

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