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 “tumble 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.]

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