Easily Confused Words: Invest vs. Incest

Invest and incest 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.

Invest is a verb. It means to contribute money to a company to help it grow.

Incest is a noun. It means sexual relationship between family members. In many cultures, including the US, this is illegal and/or morally frowned upon.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Ingrid, once a victim of incest and physical abuse herself, invested in businesses and donated to charities seeking to prevent abuse and help victims heal.

This post is related to another post: Ingest and Incest.

Easily Confused Words: Hanger vs. Hangar

Hanger and Hangar are easily confused words and homophones.

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.

Hangar is a noun, it means the huge garages where aircraft are parked and stored when not in use.

Hanger is a noun. It means the metal, plastic, or wood devices that hold tops, jackets and dresses. Typically, clothing with “shoulders” that need to be supported to avoid wrinkling.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Hang* rose early, and was all set to fly. But where was her flight suit? It wasn’t in its usual place, on its hanger in her locker at the hangar on Base. Where could it be? 

(*=pronounced hong, it means Moon in Vietnamese)

Easily Confused Words: Anecdote vs. Antidote

Anecdote and Antidote are easily confused words. They share similar letters, and they’re the kind of words that don’t happen in everyday conversation, unless you’ve studied English, or Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals.

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 the word you wanted or what word you meant. Spell-check 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.

An anecdote is a short account of an event, often told in a funny or interesting way. When comedians relate stories about their family life, dating life, or their jobs, these stories are examples of anecdotes.

An antidote is a chemical remedy for poisoning or disease. Figuratively speaking, an antidote is a counteractive measure to unwanted events, for example, sex education and birth control are recommended antidotes to prevent teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The following story uses both words correctly:

Annette was a gifted storyteller and comedienne, a legend in her own time. Fans found her observations and anecdotes the perfect antidotes to soothing their stresses in a crazy world. 

These words were suggested by @AKWhitney. You can find her blog at One Female Gaze.

Easily Confused Words: Paillette vs. Palette

Paillette and palette 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.

Paillette is a large plastic disk covered in a metallic sheen, it typically has a tiny hole close to one edge. This hole allows thousands of paillettes to be sewn on a dress or costume, but yet move with the wearer.

Palette is a noun. It means the piece of plastic, glass, or wood that a painter uses to hold their colors and mix their colors together. Palettes typically have a hole in them so the artist can hold it with just their thumb in the hole and balanced on their hand.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Paloma loved sketching evening gowns and then sewing them into the real thing, taking her more sparkling creations from palette and palliettes. She hoped she could style famous stars someday.

This post is related to Easily Confused Words: Sequins vs. Sequence, and Easily Confused Words: Palate vs. Palette.

Easily Confused Words: Sequins vs. Sequence

Sequins and sequence 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.

Sequin is a noun, its plural form is sequins. Sequins are round, shiny plastic discs used to enhance the decoration on evening dresses, or costumes of partygoers, dancers, and ice skaters’ costumes. When light hits sequins, they sparkle like a fish’s scales.

Most small sequins have a hole in the center so they can be sewed to the surface of fabric with clear thread. Sequins come in all sizes, and sometimes they need to move a little. On a textured or fringed garment, all those sparkles need to move around, like Latin ballroom dance competitors. So larger sequins that often have a hole closer to one edge (instead of the center) are also called paillettes.

Sequence is a noun. It means an orderly line or set of things, like numbers.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Sequoia spent months sewing thousands of sequins in sequence on her spandex tube dress to get the perfect mermaid costume ready for the Halloween Ball. 

Easily Confused Words: Emanate vs. Imminent

Emanate and Imminent 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, and autocorrect’s suggestions are more hysterical than apt.

Emanate is a verb. It describes energy that flows out, a glow that’s given off, something brilliant and amazing being released.

Imminent is an adjective. Imminent means destined to happen, or inevitable. When an athlete or performer pushed themselves to their limits, awards seem imminent.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Eamon, a revered choreographer on Broadway, demanded long rehearsals for months leading up to his shows. The payoff came opening night: all the performers emanated strength and grace in their movements. Critics were wowed, and the show’s likelihood for multiple award nominations seemed imminent.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Eminent vs. Imminent.

Easily Confused Words: Segue vs. Segway

Segue and Segway are easily confused words and homophones.

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.

Segue is a verb. It means using language to transition between ideas verbally or in writing. Put another way, it’s changing the subject in a smooth, logical way, not an abrupt change of subject.

You may have noticed broadcast news reporters “segueing” as they share the day’s news stories and interact with their fellow anchors. If anchors do it well, you don’t  notice them doing it. Their proverbial train of thought glides from station to station, it doesn’t jump the track, or hit a wall. Public speaking in front of a live audience also demands clever segueing.

Segway is a noun. It is a brand name for a motorized vehicle ridden while standing up. Its name was chosen specifically because it resembles segue, but spelled phonetically. Maybe you’ve seen police on Segways on city streets, or people taking Segway tours of historic sites. The introduction to the ScreenSavers webcast show features its hosts traveling to their Petaluma studio on Segways.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Sigmund hated to walk to class, so he bought a Segway on his credit card. That weekend when he was catching up with his parents on Skype, he wasn’t sure how to segue his recent purchase into the conversation without really upsetting them.