Easily Confused Words: Jeans vs. Genes

Jeans and Genes are easily confused words. They are also homophones.

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.

Jeans is a plural noun. It is slang shorthand for “blue jeans.” Jeans are canvas pants with rivets at the seam corners created by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis in 1873. These pants were much more durable than dress pants. Over time, they would be adopted by the military and other organizations for work or labor attire that could handle lots of wear, tear, and repeated washings. Blue jeans would become a fashion staple in the US and beyond after World War II.

Genes is a plural noun. It means the cells in our bodies that contain many strands of DNA. Genes carry traits from one generation to the next.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Genna ended up transferring to another university. She wanted to study genetics, and her college didn’t have a program of study for her. She was attending a formal women’s college that didn’t allow students to wear jeans to class, or even pants. She wasn’t going to miss that, or all the other stuffy rules, at all.

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