Easily Confused Words: Casualty vs. Causality

Casualty vs. Causality 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.

Casualty (pronounced “cajh-yoo-wall-tee”) is a noun. It means a soldier lost in battle due to death or severe wounding. It has also been used to describe civilian scenarios, like car collisions.

Causality (pronounced “kahwz-AL-itty”) is an noun. It means a factor or factors that led to specific outcomes, or are believed to have led to those outcomes. For example, in a court case, the prosecution’s job is to convince the judge or a jury that the defendant’s actions had causality in harming the prosecution. If that can be proven, then the defendant is asked to pay money, serve time in jail, or both, as punishment.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Occasionally, cyclist casualties happen, and the perpetrator is not found. While the causality is obviously a car hitting the cyclist and leaving the scene, the guilty driver is rarely pursued. Even if the driver is found, he or she isn’t always charged. 

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