Easily Confused Words: Mist vs. Midst

Mist and midst 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.

Mist (pronounced “mihst”) is a noun. In nature, mist is very light rainfall, or the moisture in the air during a foggy day. Generally speaking, a mist is a small burst of moisture pronounced by spray cans, spray pumps, automated fans, fragrance bottles.

Midst (pronounced “middst”) is a preposition, which typically means it describes proximity. Midst means to be in the center, midpoint, or the middle of something.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Mitrius was in the midst of pressure washing a driveway when a mist from the latest tropical storm began to fall. He had hoped to get his work done today, but it appeared the weather had other plans.

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