Easily Confused Words: Recant vs. Recount

Recant and recount 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.

Recant is a a verb. It means to take back a previous statement made in public.

Recount has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to do a repeat count of objects in confirm or contest the previous results.
  • As a noun, it means an official event for recounting votes or ballots.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Reika was in charge of elections for her district. She had announced that Robinson was going to be a clear winner in the race, but later she recanted.  The recount showed some 500 votes had been omitted the first time around. 


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