Easily Confused Words: Preposition vs. Proposition

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.

Preposition is a noun. Confused? It’s a form of speech used to describe location, proximity, or a relationship. Examples include about, above, beneath, upon, without, are a few examples of prepositions. Prepositional phrases are discouraged in good writing because it adds filler with no real impact or point. Unfortunately, legal documents (aka “Legalese”) is teeming with prepositional phrases.

Proposition has multiple forms.

As a noun, it means the course of action presented to someone else: a business transaction, a request to have sex when both parties are strangers to one another, etc.

As a verb, it means the act of asking, or making that pitch to the other party.

So what makes a request a proposition? I would say the element of risk is high. The asker has more benefit than the person being asked (the “askee”), but the asker is trying to convince the askee that the benefit is mutual, or that the askee is going to benefit more.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Prewitt knew he had his work cut out for him. He was going to make a proposition to the governor that all laws be rewritten in a simpler language. This meant the hard work of eliminating all the dependent clauses and prepositions that made them so hard for everyday people to understand. This idea was beneficial in the longterm, but it would costs thousands in the short term to hire writers and reprint all that documentation.

Easily Confused Words: Arbor vs. Ardor

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.

Arbor is a noun. It’s another word for forest.

Ardor is a noun. It means love or affection felt by someone for something or someone else.

The following story uses both words correctly:

In US popular culture, the term “treehugger” was coined to poke fun at environmentalists. While the mental image is a person with great ardor for their local arbor, many environmentalists want to conserve and protect wildlife, waterways, and air quality. It’s not just the trees. 

Easily Confused Words: Rain vs. Reign

Rain and reign 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.

Rain has multiple forms.

  • Rain, the noun, means a weather event where water droplets fall from the skies.
  • Rain, the verb, means what’s happening when those droplets are falling from the sky.

Reign has multiple forms.

  • Reign, the noun, means the time period that a monarch ruled over his/her people.
  • Reign the verb, means to rule over a people.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Raymundo had a spectacular reign over his country. There was no war, the economy flourished, and their monarch had a exuberant spirit. His subjects often spied him literally dancing in the rain. 

Easily Confused Words: Valor vs. Velour

Valor and velour 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.

Valor is an adjective. It describes a person who demonstrates courage, boldness, and determination.

Velour is a noun. It is a synthetic fabric that imitates velvet. Unlike velvet it’s more flexible and stretchable, thinner, and can be machine washed. Winter blankets, stuffed animals, and clothing are just three things that are made with velour.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Vachel was a remarkable soldier on the battlefield, always demonstrating valor under the toughest circumstances. When he came home, he started a career in ready to wear fashion. His first fall collection focused on velour and jersey ready to wear separates. 

Easily Confused Words: Impatient vs. Inpatient

Impatient and inpatient 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.

Impatient is an adjective. It means someone who cannot wait for anything without getting mad, irritated, complaining, or fidgeting.

Inpatient is a noun. It means someone residing at the hospital awaiting care or a procedure.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Imogen learned that she had sleep apnea and she required a tonsillectomy. It would be an inpatient procedure so they could monitor her breathing until the swelling had gone down. She hated hospitals, and she just knew she’d be impatient with everyone involved until the whole ordeal was over.

Easily Confused Words: Atrophy and Entropy

Atrophy and entropy 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.

Atrophy has multiple forms.

  • Atrophy the noun means the state of muscles that weakening from lack of use.
  • Atrophy the verb means the receding or weakening of muscles.

Entropy is a noun. It is a measure of the disorganization or disorder in a system.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Enid was convinced that society experienced more entropy the more each individual allowed their muscles to atrophy. She felt the brain and body were not just connected, but interdependent. Exercise of one benefitted the other. 

Easily Confused Words: Basis vs. Bases

Basis and Bases 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.

Basis is a noun. It means a specific or a limited timeframe of availability.

Bases is a plural noun form of “base.” Base has multiple forms:

  • Base, in baseball and softball, is a bag or square used to indicate a player’s progress around the field.
  • Base, in chemistry, is a chemical that feels slippery to the touch, and is capable of neutralizing acids.

Base can also be a verb, meaning the documentation, source material or other justification for an argument, or for a piece of literature, film, or art. Many movies are based on novels for example.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Basil was a promising ball player, he had a great pitcher’s arm and he ran the bases faster than anyone else. When journalists asked about his performance secrets, he just shrugged, “I approach each game on a case by case basis, no two are exactly alike.”