Easily Confused Words: Indict vs. Incite

Indict* and incite are easily confused words, they share all but one letter. 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. Autocorrect could also confuse these two since it relies heavily on words that share the first 2-3 letters.

Indict is a verb that’s pronounced “ind-eye-tt,” the ‘c’ is silent.  It is a legal term meaning to bring formal charges against an accused person or organization. The person or organization is accused, then indicted, then at the end of the trial, convicted.

Incite is a verb. It means to be a cause for the start of something, to motivate. Inciting is used to describe human behavior.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

When the Governor was told the State Legislature had plans to indict, she claimed that party advisors helped incite her dubious, corrupt actions.

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


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