Easily Confused Words: Parody vs. Parity

Parody and parity 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.

Parody has multiple forms.

Parody the verb means to make fun of, usually starting with direct imitation, and going in all sorts of satirical and absurd angles from there. Parody aims to make an observations or tell a truths about modern life.

The noun form means the craft or the work created by making fun of something. For example, Weird Al Yankovic is the king of “pop parody” music. The Daily Show is a parody of TV network news.

Parity is a noun. It means two or more things possessing equivalence or similar characteristics. In finance, it means things of similar monetary value.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Parmida was a novice comic struggling to find her niche. She’d make unique observations, but the audience wasn’t laughing. She spoke with parity and too much kindness instead of skewering her subjects (and herself) with parody. 

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