Easily Confused Words: Troupe vs. Troop

Troupe and troop are easily confused words. They are homophones,

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 suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Troupe is noun. It means a group of actors, improvisers, musicians, gymnast, circus, or other performers that are highly mobile or travel frequently.

Troop has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means a group in the military; the police; in Boy/Girl Scouts; a large crowd of people. It can also mean a group of animals, especially kangaroos.
  • As a verb, it means to form this type of grouping.

The following story uses both words correctly:

People thought they had Travis all figured out. He grew up in Boy Scout troops, got excellent grades, and played popular sports like basketball and football. Upon graduation, he could go to college anywhere he wanted. Instead, he virtually disappeared. He moved to the larger city in another country, changed his name, and joined a modern dance troupe. It was the first time he felt like he was being himself instead of the expected, safe image of what others’ wanted. 

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