Easily Confused Words: Docent vs. Decent

Docent and decent 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.

Docent is a noun. It means a guide in a museum who describes the works on display, or a knowledgable lecturer at a college.

Decent is an adjective. It describes a substantial amount of something. It can also mean an acceptable or respectable level of something.

The following story uses both words correctly:

After acing her exams, Decendre performed more than decent amount of community service, far more than the rest of her Honors Society peers. Over the summer, she worked as a docent at her local community’s art museum, took piano lessons, and performed in local theater productions. Senior year it wasn’t surprising when she won “Renaissance Young Woman” in her class’ superlatives list.

This post relates to other posts: Descent vs. Dissent, Descent vs. Decent

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