Easily Confused Words: Writers vs. Riders

Writers and riders 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.

Writers is a plural noun. It means people who make their living putting words together for public consumption, be it novels, nonfiction, news stories, or blog posts. If you compose a piece of art by stringing words together to get your ideas across, you are a writer.

Riders is a plural noun. It is related to the verb ride. Riders can mean people traveling on horseback, travelers on a train or in a taxi (or Lyft or Uber), or people participating in a ride share or carpool.

Riders can also mean special conditions or language on a contract or government bill.

  • Musicians and actors often request favorite foods or drinks be waiting for them when they come to work or perform. Funny requests or unusual content have made some of these go viral.
  • Riders on legislative bills, especially spending bills, are much more controversial. Riders are designed to get spending approved that could not pass in its own bill, or to ruin the chances of the bill passing at all.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Ridley sought adventurous friends, including wild horse riders and writers who lived like Hemingway in modern times. 

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