Easily Confused Words: Realty vs. Reality

Realty and reality 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.

Realty is a noun. It means a business that manages land or property, and the sale of that land or property. The person doing the selling belongs to a national real estate board and abides by that group’s ethics code is called a realtor. Persons selling who don’t belong to a board but do have a license to sell property are called real estate agents.

Reality  is a noun. It means day to day life in the present time. The political climate, the culture, your age, your income, your maturity, your health, all of that criteria feed into your experience of life right now. That collective experience is your reality. ‘

Reality can also be an adjective, such as in the phrase “reality TV.” Reality TV features characters using their real-life names and their real-life personalities in scripted situations. Often there is a contest or drama involved in the premise of the show. Television has capitalized on reality shows because they get ratings and cost far less than sitcom starring professional actors.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Rea had no idea what she wanted to do after high school, she just wanted to get a glimpse of reality but not work in fast food anymore. She would get a job as a secretary in a realty office. Within five years, she got a license to sell property. Within ten years, she was making an excellent living selling commercial properties. 

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Easily Confused Words: Flew vs. Flue

Flew and flue 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.

Flew is a verb, it’s the past tense of fly.

Flue is a noun. It means a passage or door inside a chimney so smoke can escape.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Flynn was cleaning the chimney in her fixer upper. She opened the flue. When bats flew into the house, she screamed. Maybe purchasing this fixer upper was a mistake, she thought. 

This post is related to another post: Easily Confused Words: Flew and Flu.

Easily Confused Words: Middens vs. Mittens

Middens and mittens 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.

Mittens is a noun. Mittens are woven handcoverings people wear in winter. Mittens have two “lobes”: a large one for the hand and the four fingers, and a smaller lobe for the thumb. Wardrobe cousins to mittens are oven mitts (which cooks wear to avoid burned skin) and catcher’s mitts (which are worn to catch a fast flying baseball or softballs.)

Middens is a noun. It means piles of ashes, dung, or trash. Kitchen middens are shell, bone, and other remains that indicate where ancient hunter-gatherers consumed food.  In a figurative sense, middens can mean evidence left behind of an event.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Mitali was out snowshoeing when she stepped on something unusual. She started pushing back layers of snow, then dirt. She tore off her mittens. She had found what appeared to be an ancient carved chiminea with a pile of middens and remains nearby. What a find for an archaeology student at Helena College.

Easily Confused Words: This vs. These

This and these 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.

This is a singular pronoun. It’s used to indicate one specific thing in relationship to other things. For example: This wet umbrella doesn’t look like the others with our logo on it. It probably belongs to that man who dashed out the door to take a call and never came back.

These is a plural pronoun. It’s used to indicate more than one thing, or a group of things, in relationship to other things. These is the plural form of this. For example: These clean clothes need to be hung up before you take a nap in this bed. Don’t just throw them on the floor.

The following story uses both words correctly:

This was the most exciting, eye opening year of Thenjiwe’s life thus far. These are days she will treasure forever. When she returns home, she will create a web journal of all the experiences she’s enjoyed as a foreign exchange student in Paris. Then she will start planning her next adventure. 

Easily Confused Words: Elect vs. Electric

Elect and electric 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.

Elect is a verb. It means to appoint someone to a representative office by taking a poll of the governing body’s opinions. The governing body could be the population of a county, state, or country, or a much smaller group like a club, or a school class. The noun form, election, is the means by which someone is elected to office. To simplify the process, parties of like-minded individuals nominate people to run, or individuals interested in the job file paperwork to run.

Electric is an adjective. It describes something or someone that is very high in energy and excitement. This energy tends to rub off on everyone else, much like literal electricity runs through wires. For example, the atmosphere at famous parties can be described as “electric.”

The following story uses both words correctly:

Earlier today, Edynya’s people headed to the polls to elect their next president. Tonight, Terra Verde party headquarters is positively electric.  So far, poll numbers are indicating that their candidate will win by a landslide.

Easily Confused Words: Vain vs. Vane

Vain and vane 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.

Vain is an adjective. It describes someone obsessed with a refined appearance at all times. Vanity, the noun form, is the quality of being obsessed with one’s own image.

Vane is a noun. It is a metal blade or set of blades that are moved naturally or artificially by air or water. For example, a weather vane is metal device on a roof’s apex that is indicates of wind speed and direction. In a figurative or metaphorical sense, someone who is vane is fickle, or always changing and hard to please.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Vance had pink hair and unique expressive fashion sense. His family accused him of being vane and hard to get along with. His classmates felt he was shallow and vain, that he was all about appearances. Vance felt he was bringing much needed color and excitement to his otherwise predictable hometown of Venango.

Easily Confused Words: Cue vs. Queue

Cue and Queue 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.

Cue is a noun. It means a movement, signal, or other notification that things are going well, or the opposite. A cue that a conversation is going well is repeated eye contact, smiling, and nodding.

Queue has multiple forms:

  • As a verb, it means to form a single file line.
  • As a noun, it means a formed line of objects or people.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Quetzalla was visiting from another country. Her biggest culture shock right off the plane was noticing people her host country didn’t believe queuing up at restaurants, and they were not open to cues that this was wrong. She was learning early that being a stranger in a strange land means not bossing everyone around about how things worked back home.