Easily Confused Words: Ingenuity vs. Annuity

Ingenuity and annuity 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 suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Ingenuity

Annuity

The following story uses both words correctly:

Anselm

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Easily Confused Words: Raze vs. Raise

Raze and raise 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 suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Raze is a verb. It means to cut or tear something down. When corn season has passed, typically the fields stalks are razed. When a business buys an old unused building, the raze it to build a new one that meets their needs.

Raise has multiple forms, revolving around increasing elevation or importance.

  • Raise the verb means to move up into the air. In the classroom, children raise their hands to ask questions or offer answers.
  • Raise the noun means an increase in pay that a worker receives from their employer.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Roselyn was hoping to get a raise this year, her rent was rising in a dilapidated building that someone missed being razed for 40 years. It was time for a move.

Easily Confused Words: Pact vs. Packed

Pact and packed are easily confused words. They are not homophones, but they are about as close as two words can get.

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. It doesn’t know 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 suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Pact is a noun. It means a promise, or an agreement between two or more parties.

Packed is a word in the past tense; it has two forms both relating to fullness or a capacity being reached:

  • Packed the verb means travel bags have been readied for a journey or a move.
  • Packed the adjective can describe volume within an object:
    • concerts have “packed houses,” meaning they can’t fit anymore people in the concert hall.
    • If brown sugar is packed, it means its tightly formed together to fill its container, as opposed to a loose, conical pile.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Patricia and Tony were notorious for missing their plane flights. They made a pact to have their bags packed the night before, and to arrive at the airport hours before takeoff.

Easily Confused Words: Fuse vs. Few

Fuse and few 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 suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Fuse is a noun. It means a small electrical unit in an electrical system.

Few refers to a small number of things, it has multiple forms:

  • Few as a noun. For example: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
  • Few as a pronoun. For example: Few people wish to buy a new car in a bad economy.
  • Few as an adjective. For example: Few before could, and now fewer art types can afford to live in Downtown San Francisco. 

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Felicia had a few people over for a tapas party. When the lights went out, she didn’t miss a beat. She headed to the fuse box with a flashlight and flipped the breaker. The lights and the party were back on. 

Easily Confused Words: Lessen vs. Lesson

Lessen and lesson 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 suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Lesson is a noun.

  • It means valuable truth that people tend to learn from experience, rather than just being told.
  • It can also mean subjects taught in school and college.

Lessen is a verb. It means to reduce the quantity of something, or take away the magnitude.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Lester was very upset when his daughter stayed out late and didn’t call to say where she was. When she did return home, he wanted her to learn her lesson, but he didn’t want to be to strict. Her mother wanted to ground her for a month, but he wanted to lessen the punishment since the girl was usually so well-behaved.

Easily Confused Words: Suet vs. Sweet

Suet and sweet 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 suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Suet is a noun. It means animal fat in a solid form. Sometimes people will hang large blocks of suet from a tree. Birds will eat suet year round, but it’s more helpful when food is scarce, as it is in winter. Suet can also be used in cooking to add flavor and help with vitamin absorption. In the American South, many vegetables, like collards and green beans, are cooked in animal fat for these reasons.

Sweet has multiple forms, all meaning “pleasing, or pleasant” in a variety of ways:

  • Sweet as a flavor is sugary, like honey.
  • Sweet can describe a person’s nature, if they are gentle, kind, upbeat, and/or generous.
  • Sweet! as an interjection arrived in the late 1990s-early 2000s. When something had a good or a surprising outcome, the person it occurred to might say this in response. He or she can’t believe their luck or good fortune.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Susie, a food critic, was on her first assignment. She ordered a dish made with suet. It was good, but it tasted more greasy and salty than the sweetness she was expecting.

Easily Confused Words: Arc vs. Ark

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 suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Arc is a noun. It means an unbroken portion of the circumference of the circle. Arcs can also mean a object whose shape follows a circle’s circumference, like a rainbow, an archway, or a bridge. It can also mean a path or trajectory that follows an arc pattern.

Ark is a noun. It can refer to a chest or box containing highly valuable objects. It can also mean a a large boat carrying cargo. Arks figure prominently in Judeo-Christian lore: the Ark of the Covenant, and Noah’s Ark. Follow the links for more information on those symbols.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Archie was anxious about all the rain his town was experiencing, was he going to have to build an ark and never return? Even a rainbow’s arc was not an encouraging sign after a storm. The next week’s forecast just promised more of the same: heavy rains they didn’t need.