Easily Confused Words: Sower vs. Sour

Sower and sour 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.

Sower (pronounced “soh-wherr”) is a noun. It means a person who plants seeds in the ground, or a device used to plant seeds in the ground.

Sour (pronounced “sohw-err”), is an adjective. It describes a flavor that is tart or acidic, the opposite of sweet. Sour is used to describe the flavor of lemons, limes, and fermented foods.

The candy, Sour Patch Kids, imitates sour citrus flavors in its gummy form; the sugar that the candies are rolled in counteracts the sourness.

Sour cream is a thick dairy condiment used on baked potatoes and used as flavor counterpoint to hot, stinging peppers. (Other cultures use yogurt to counter hot, spicy foods.)

The following story uses both words correctly:

Solaina was offered a deal by her parents. If she took the lead as a head sower of the crops they needed to plant at dawn, she could eat all the sour apple turnovers she wanted later that day. She eagerly accepted.


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