Easily Confused Words: Wrecks vs. Rex

Wrecks and Rex and 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, nor can it 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.

Wreck is a noun, wrecks is its plural form. A wreck is a mess,  or a disaster. Quite often, it’s used to refer to traffic collisions: “I wrecked my car.” It can also describe how someone feels: “When I found out my ex got engaged, I was a wreck for months.” 

Rex means “king” in Latin. It has multiple forms:

  • Rex the noun is a man’s name.
  • Rex the adjective is a description of size or status.
    • Tyrannosaurus Rex was the largest meat-eating dinosaur of his age: Huge legs, tiny arms, and a huge jaws.
    • Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, as King of Rome, had his name followed by “Rex” to indicate his royalty. For a list of Kings of Rome, see the link.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Rex had a big ego, it seemed he was always getting into car wrecks and his romantic relationships didn’t fare much better. When he asked relatives what he was doing wrong, no one had the courage to speak up.

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