Easily Confused Words: Drier vs. Dryer

Drier and Dryer are easily confused words.

When using word processing software or texting apps, it’s tempting to think spell-check or autocorrect will save us from our typos. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Spell-check merely scans a document looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary. If it’s a word in its dictionary and it’s spelled correctly, spell-check keeps moving. Auto-correct merely tries to anticipate what you’re typing, and its suggestions are based on similar sequences of letters, not meaning or context.

Drier is an adjective, it is used to describe wetness among two or more objects.

Dryer is a noun. It means a person or thing that removes water. In the US, it means an appliance that uses heat and a spinning bin to remove moisture from clothes and other fabrics. Dryer is short for “Clothes dryer.” In the UK, they call these same devices “tumbler dryers.” Dry has many other meanings, but I will focus on those in another post.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Deidre was disappointed that her rental’s dryer wasn’t getting her beach clothes any drier, even after repeated cycles. Would she just have to hang them in the bathroom and let the air do the work?

[Interestingly Dictionary.com is saying “Dryer” can be spelled with an “i”, but I’ve never seen it spelled that way when referring to an appliance here in the States.]

Easily Confused Words: Sore vs. Soar

This Easily Confused Word pair was suggested to me by Liam Haddock, who is teaching and traveling his way around the world (awesome!). Check out his blog here

Sore and soar are easily confused words. When using word processing software or texting apps, it’s tempting to think spell-check or autocorrect will save us from our typos. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Spell-check merely scans a document looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary. If it’s a word in its dictionary and it’s spelled correctly, spell-check keeps moving. Auto-correct merely tries to anticipate what you’re typing, and its suggestions are based on letter sequences, not meaning or context.

Sore is an adjective. It describes something causing pain and discomfort. This can be a physical wound, or in more figurative speech, like a memory of something bad occurring that still emotionally stings a little, a.k.a. “a sore subject.”

Sore can also be a noun, as in, a sore on your skin, like a welt, blister, blemish, bug bite, or other painful infection.

Soar is a verb. It means to flies through the air, rising higher and higher in the sky. In the financial world, stocks or profits are described as “soaring” when they succeed; this means they are increasing in value at a rapid rate.

The following story uses both words correctly:

For Stanley, stocks were a sore subject. He found them fascinating, but the investments he chose rarely soared in value. Quite the opposite, actually.

Thanks again, Liam, and happy trails!