Easily Confused Words: Descent vs. Decent

Descent vs. decent area 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.

Descent is a noun. It means to move in a downward path or trajectory.  Figuratively or metaphorically, it can mean a decline in health, mood, or attitude.

Decent is an adjective. It describes a substantial amount of something. It can also mean an acceptable or respectable level of something.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Destiny was concerned repaying her student loans would mean a descent into poverty. Thankfully, her persistence paid off. She found a dream job with a decent starting wage.

This post relates to another one: Dissent vs. Descent


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