Easily Confused Words: Purse vs. Parse

Purse and Parse 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.

Purse has multiple forms.

  • As a noun, a purse is a small piece of luggage that carries a wallet and other everyday supplies. Purses are typically carried by women.A purse can also be any small bag-like object.
  • A purse can also mean the prize money offered for a horserace or other contest.
  • As a verb, to purse means to contract skin into folds or wrinkles, like pursing your lips to whistle or make a duckface for a selfie.

Parse is a verb. It means to analyze words or other components closely for hidden content.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Pursulane was parsing the meaning of ancient texts in the park for her thesis when a stranger snatched her purse. 

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