Easily Confused Words: Sheik vs. Chic

Sheik and chic 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.

Sheik is a noun. It’s an Arabic word. It is pronounced “shayk” or “sheek.” In Islamic countries, it means a tribal leader or chief.

Chic is an adjective. It has French-Germanic roots. It looks like “chick,” but it is pronounced “sheek.” It describes something showing style, class, beauty, or all of the above. Chic is a word used in fashion journalism.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Qamash was the son of Sheik. He was studying overseas at FIT NY. He was making his mark by blending tribal clothing with Western nuances. He was gaining the nickname, “King of global chic.” 

Easily Confused Words: County vs. Country

County and country 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.

County is a noun. A county is a unit of a state that is created for judicial and legislative reasons. In the US, all 50 states are made up of counties. Every country does this separation differently. For example, Ireland is made up of counties, not states.

Country has multiple meanings:

  • As a noun, the country can mean land that is populated by farms and natural areas, with sparse residential areas.
  • As a noun, a country is a set of states or provinces ruled by a common governing body and a set of rules. In the US, the founding documents are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
  • As an adjective, country can mean a US music genre that uses lots of string instruments: slide guitar, fiddle, banjo, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar are often the lead instrument. For many years, country lyrics were characterized by life in rural areas, farm life, small town life, Christian religion, drinking, heartache, loss, alcoholism, and getting trouble with the law.

It could be said that modern country (1990s-present) in the US has become nearly identical to pop music. Artists cross over, they have hits on both charts and the versions sound just slightly different. If the artist is wearing a cowboy hat when performing, he’s a country artist first. Women artists in country don’t have a “look” to the same degree as men do, but they may wear flashy belts, cowboy boots.

Classic country 1950s-1980s includes acts like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Glenn Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Kenny Rogers, Alan Jackson, and Reba McEntire. There’s many more.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Kornilska grew up in a fishing family on the coasts of Nordland county. In between catches, she strummed her guitar and sang North Germanic music of her country.  

Easily Confused Words: Pedaling vs. Peddling

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.

Pedaling is the gerund form of the verb pedal. To pedal means to turn gears or wheels of a device by using your feet or hands. the most common pedals are on bicycles and exercise bikes.

Peddling is the gerund form of the verb peddle. It means to sell wares on the street.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Peta needed extra spending money for school, so she took on two jobs. She got up early for pedaling back and forth around town delivering papers, then peddling food at a mall cart after class.

 

Easily Confused Words: Condiments and Condoms

Condiments and condoms 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.

Condiments is a noun, it’s the plural form of condiment. A condiment is a sauce used to add flavor on prepared food: ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, dijonnaise, and horseradish are all examples of condiments.

Condoms are a noun. It means a latex or other rubberized device worn by men during intercourse to prevent the release of ejaculate into an orifice of their partner. Condoms both prevent pregnancy and can prevent the spread of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs.)

The following story uses both words correctly:

Concord was picking up last minute things for that weekend’s house party. Reviewing the list he pulled from the fridge, his roommates had listed condiments, ground beef for burgers, sodas, beer, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and….condoms? Really? Was that a joke?

Maybe it wasn’t. Since they couldn’t afford to look for a new roommate in the next six months so he picked some up anyway.

Easily Confused Words: Ochre vs. Okra

Ochre and Okra 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.

Ochre is a noun. It is a dull, earth tone yellow pigment. It is frequently mentioned in oil painting.

Okra is a noun. Okra is a plant with ribbed, rigid, almost jalapeño pepper-shaped pods. When the pods are cut open, they reveal 5-7 round seeds in a circle around the center.

Unlike the jalapeño, okra isn’t hot, its flavor is closer to a bell pepper’s intensity: you can taste it but it’s not overpowering. Okra is cooked in all sorts of ways: in gumbo soup, breaded and fried, or sliced open and stuffed, just to name a few possibilities. It is believed okra came to the Americas from East Africa.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Oksana wasn’t an experienced cook, but her competitive spirit compelled to enter a chili cooking contest anyway. She planned to make an ochre-colored stew featuring peppers, okra, and chicken. When her friend Onslow came by to see how it was going, he frowned. She could tell something was wrong.

“Tell me,” she said, “honest opinion, don’t hold back.”

“That doesn’t look appetizing at all, Oksana.”

Easily Confused Words: Oxytocin vs. Oxycontin

Oxytocin and oxycontin 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.

Oxytocin is a noun.

  • Called the love hormone, it’s a brain chemical released when a person experiences bonding or closeness with another human being or a pet. Touch seems to spur the release of oxytocin in our brain.
  • As a drug, it is used to help stimulate childbirth.

Oxycontin is a noun. It is one of several commercial names for oxycodone, an opiod painkiller. As a opiod, it is related to morphine, and the illegal drugs opium and heroin.

The following story uses both words correctly:

A month after a really bad car accident, Oren was in danger of becoming addicted to painkillers like Oxycontin. He was in a lot of pain, and healing was slow. But the hardest part was how to get on with life following the loss of his partner and their children in the same accident. The house was empty. Life was too quiet. Though the other driver was at fault for colliding head on and using their phone behind the wheel of a semi, he blamed himself for what happened. 

Out of nowhere, his friend Larry came by with a dog and some food for it. “I’m in no shape to take care of something else, man,” Oren said.

“Just give it a week, ” Larry said, “I’ll come back Sunday if you really don’t like her.” Oren had limited mobility, but he did throw a ball with the dog at least once a day. By Tuesday, it was several times a day. She got a name, Molly, and she was very easy to talk to. Oren wasn’t aware of it, but Molly was spurring the release of oxytocin in his brain and reducing his stress level. Needless to say, he didn’t get around to calling Larry to take the dog back.

Easily Confused Words: Piece vs. Peace

Piece vs. Peace are easily confused words. They are homophones, they sound just alike but they are spelled differently.

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.

Piece is a noun. It means a portion of a larger whole.

Piece is used in several idioms:

  • A piece of cake: The speaker feels something he/she has been asked to do is an easy task.
  • Piece of my mind: The speaker is offering someone else their opinion or perspective. Most of the time, it’s something that pisses him/her off.
  • Piece of work: The speaker is describing someone irritable, difficult to be around.

A related adjective, piecey, is not found in the dictionary, but it is used to describe hair in modern times. Piecey hair has been groomed with wax or pomade at the ends so hair has texture whether it is super straight, super curly, or layered and very short.

Peace is a noun.

  • It means a state of quiet or tranquility.
  • It can also mean a nation that is not involved in a war effort.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Pia, mother of four, was tired of not getting a moment’s peace around her children. One afternoon, she was very close to taking the toys they fought over and busting them to pieces. She took a deep breath and said, “I need you to go outside and play there for the next three hours.” The kids obliged.