Easily Confused Words: Contend vs. Content

Contend and Content 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.

Contend is a verb. It means to struggle, or to compete with a rival. It can also mean to assert and maintain an opinion or stance when there’s evidence to the contrary.

Content is an adjective. It describes the state of feeling generally good about a situation, like their life or circumstances.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Conary was a new dad. Trying to balance all life’s demands while operating on too little sleep was just something he had to contend with. Keeping the new baby content was a full-time job. 


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