Easily Confused Words: Teak vs. Take

Teak and Take are easily confused words. The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect also tries to anticipate what word you want based on the first few letters. But sharing letters doesn’t mean related words.

Teak is a noun. It means a tropical hardwood birch tree. When furniture, tools, or boats are made from this tree’s wood, those items are also called teak.

Take is a verb. It means to get a hold of, or get possession of. Take has several tenses: Take, Took (past), Taken (present).

There’s a number of phrases using “take”:

  • “take a look” is a request for someone to review something closely
  • “on the take” means accepting money in exchange for favorable treatment
  • “take advantage” means having an opportunity and little adversity
  • “take a chance” means having a high risk opportunity and doing it regardless

The following story uses both words correctly:

Takeo, a champion surfer, loved to take on the biggest waves off Hawaii’s coast. He also liked stand up paddle-boarding on a handcrafted teak board.

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