Easily Confused Words: Manger vs. Manager

Manger and manager 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.

Manger is a noun. It means a feeding or water trough used to feed farm animals. Perhaps the most of famous manger is the one featured in the Nativity story:  Mary and Joseph found a barn when all the lodges and inns were too full. After Jesus was born, he was swaddled and placed into the manger as a makeshift crib.

Manager is a noun. It means someone placed in a leadership role in a business, often overseeing a team of people or a particular issue. Some businesses have several managers since there are so many facets of the business that need specialized focus, like sales, operations, finance, and technology.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Mehrangiz worked as a manager in finance for twenty years. She sought simplicity in the next phase of her career, so she took a leap and bought a farm. At first, she didn’t know stables from mangers, and all the tools required to feed and clean up after animals looked alike. But six months in, she was very comfortable and knew she had made the right decision.


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