Easily Confused Words: Residence vs. Residents

Residents and Residence 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. Because both words start with “r-e-s”, these words could easily be mistaken for one another.

What’s interested about these two is that the relate to one another more than most of the easily confused words I’ve covered in the past.

Reside is a verb meaning the area or the housing where a person lives.

Resident in a noun, meaning a person living in a space, whether it’s a house, an apartment, a dorm, or a facility.

Residence is also a noun, it means where persons live.

When proofreading, it’s worth asking, do I mean the place (residence), or the person living there (resident)? If I mean the person living there, is there more than one person (residents)?

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Following the wildfire, residents were told it would be a week or so before they could return to their residences.

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