Easily Confused Words: Apprise vs. Appraise

Apprise and appraise 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. It’s suggestions are more humorous than they are useful.

Apprise is a verb. It means to keep others informed of changes and developments. It’s another way of saying “update.”

Appraise is a verb. It means to estimate the monetary value of an object or a piece of property. It can also mean interpreting the impact or the value more abstractly, like the cultural impact of an artist’s work on a generation of people.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Apria was an heiress and an antiques collector. She had a team to support her hobby full-time: there were professionals to apprise her of the hottest pieces coming to auction, and others to appraise her latest wins.


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