Easily Confused Words: Plaid vs. Played

Plaid and played 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.

Plaid is a noun. It means fabric patterned with layers of perpendicular bands (some vertical, some horizontal) of 3-5 colors. These fabrics resemble the wool tartans found in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Specific patterns represent different clans and families.

Played is a past tense of the verb “play.” Play is a verb meaning someone undertaking an activity for pleasure, intellectual stimulation, experimentation, or a diversion. For example, people play instruments. Families play board games.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Plaisance was an unforgettable girl at her middle school: she played the viola and wore fluorescent tops with plaid leggings. 


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