Easily Confused Words: Amphibious vs. Ambidextrous

Amphibious and Ambidextrous are easily confused words. Don’t believe me? Check out this link.

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.

Amphibious is an adjective. It describes something that is capable of traveling across land and water. If you’ve ever seen a duck bus, it’s an example of an amphibious vehicle.

Ambidextrous is an adjective. It describes someone who can perform a skill equally well with either hand. For example, handwriting, painting, sculpting, performing surgery, or pitching a baseball.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Amberlynn, an ambidextrous violinist, was ambivalent about performing at a wedding on an amphibious vehicle. Months later, she found strangers were captivated when she mentioned it in passing in between her sets. People are fascinated by the oddest things, she thought.


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