Easily Confused Words: Mint vs. Meant

Mint and meant 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.

Mint (pronounced “mih-nt”) is a noun. It means a herb known for it’s cooling, extremely strong flavor. Mint is a popular flavoring in winter-themed desserts, and in cocktails like mojitos, grasshoppers, and mint juleps. It’s also used in toothpaste, mouthwash, and breath-aid candies like Altoids.

Meant (pronounced “meh-nt”) is a verb, it’s the past tense of “to mean.” Meant is used to indicate the definition or the intention of words, whether they’re written, spoken, sung, rapped, etc.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Mindy had a difficult conversation with her boyfriend, Manfred. As she chewed her mint gum and stared out the bus window, she wondered just what he meant when he said when ‘he needed space.” As the bus pulled away, she couldn’t believe it. She saw him talking to a group. One girl in the circle, Maylin, who laughing an awful lot. This didn’t look good for Mindy and Manfred’s relationship. 


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