Easily Confused Words: Bass vs. Base

Bass and base 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’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Bass is a noun. It means the low notes that combined with drums, give a piece of music its rhythm. The bass notes are often played by a steel stringed electric guitar, or a large standup bass played with a bow or by hand. Esmeralda Spaulding is famous for playing a standup bass for her jazz albums.

Base is a noun. It means the foundation of a sculpture. In sports like baseball, it can mean a sack or structure that the players navigate in order to score points for their team.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Blaze was a girl of many talents. She played first base for her softball team, and she was learning to play the bass for her school’s jazz band.


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