Easily Confused Words: Swayed vs. Suede

Swayed and suede are easily confused words. They are homophones, meaning words that sound identical but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

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.

Swayed (pronounced “swade”) is the past tense of the verb sway. It means movements made in the past. To be swayed means to be influenced or convinced of a different position.

Suede (pronounced “swade”) is a noun. It means a fabric covered in short furry hairs. Suede is used for cold weather clothing, fall/winter shoes, and for stuffed toys for very small infants. Originally made from animal hide, more synthetic varieties have emerged in the last 20 years.

The following story uses both words correctly:

When Swaantje swayed to the music at Fall Formal, her stone encrusted suede shoes sparkled with light from the mirrorball overhead. 


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