Easily Confused Words: Blather vs. Bather

Blather and bather 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.

Blather (pronounced “bl-eh-th-err) is a verb. It means to talk a lot.

Bather (pronounced “bay-th-urr”) Is a noun. It means a person cleaning themselves in a tub, or in areas without indoor plumbing a lake or pond.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Bathsheba wasn’t sure she could handle much more blathering on by her professor about 18th century bather paintings. She zoned out and started daydreaming about going home and sinking into her tub. 

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Easily Confused Words: Fusillade vs. Fuselage

Fusillade and fuselage 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.

Fusillade (pronounced “few-suh-laid”) is a noun. It means a steady stream of firing bullets by guns or other firearms. It can also be used to mean a steady stream or flow or water, words, or other abundant material capable of steady movement.

Fuselage (pronounced “few-suh-lah-j”) is a noun. It means the central “tube” of a plane that the wings, engines, tails are attach to. On a commercial flight, he pilot flies and the passengers ride in the fuselage.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Fusako was buckled in to the fuselage of the plane. He was nervous about it, but excited about his trip. He was listening to soothing music and about to gorge on a plateful of fusilli pasta when he heard rapid firing, like a fusillade. It was just the handheld video game of a teenager behind him.

The flight attendant gently reprimanded the teen to use headphones with his game so as to avoid disturbing the other passengers.

Easily Confused Words: Accept vs. Except

Accept and except 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.

Accept is a verb. It means to receive an object, or to agree to items or conditions offered.

It can also mean receiving information, especially negative information, and not reacting dramatically or badly to it.

Except has multiple forms.

  • As a preposition, it means a location or a position (physical or a preference) that is unlike the rest, for example: Everyone who pledged to showed up for fundraising drive except Joe. Except the vegan, everyone wanted Burger King. 
  • As a conjunction, it is used to indicate a unique stance compared to other things: I packed most all my gear except shampoo. I forgot and left in my shower, so I will have to buy some once I arrive.

The following story uses both words correctly:

 Acacia felt she could accept the job contract terms, except for the final two clauses: claiming the company could forbid her to moonlight, and the one claiming rights to any work she does while employed there. Ultimately she declined and started her own venture instead.

Easily Confused Words: Mete vs. Meat

Mete and meat 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.

Mete is a verb. It means to take a measurement. It can also mean to quantify something.

Meat is a noun. It means the muscle tissue of animals. Most often, it’s used to refer to the muscle tissue of domesticated animals raised for human consumption. In a figurative sense, it can mean content or components: “the meat of the story,” “the meat and potatoes of company revenue”

The following story uses both words correctly:

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Meet vs. Mete.

Metzli had cut meat from her diet and substituted vegetables for several weeks now. When she meted her BMI, though, she was seeing few improvements. There was definitely more to it than diet changes and more exercise.

Easily Confused Words: Were vs. We’re

Were and we’re are easily confused words. An apostrophe changes everything.

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.

Were (pronounced “whuh-urr”) is a verb. It’s the past tense of a plural verb are. As such, it’s only appropriate when talking about events of the past, things that have happened, and hypothetical actions.

For example, a famous 1970s film with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford is “The Way We Were,” a film about people meeting in college, that marry years later. They are opposites, so their relationship is difficult.

We’re (pronounced “whuh-eer”) is a contraction of the verb phrase “we are.” We’re is used for present situations, and for things happening in the near future.

If you’re in doubt about were and we’re, insert the full words in their place.

“We’re going to the park later.” becomes “We are going to the park later.” Perfect!

In contrast, “Were going to the park later.” Nope! That doesn’t work at all. It’s a past tense verb being used to describe near future events, events that haven’t happened.

The only way it could work is with some changed wording, like making it a question about potential activities, like, “Were you planning on going to the park later? It’s raining pretty hard. The radar says it’s not going to let up for a few hours.”

The following story uses both words correctly:

Wera started pouting. Her older sister Wendalyn was slipping her purse on her shoulder.

“What’s the matter?” asked Will, their Dad.

“I wanted to do hair, and play princesses, but Wennie’s leaving me by myself,” Wera whimpered.

Wendalyn responded, “We’re going shopping. I can’t watch her, and hang out with my friends, Dad. She’ll wander off.”

“When were you going to tell me you were headed out today?” Will asked. “Jamie is in classes all day. Wera has no one to play with.”

“She’s got you, Dad,” Wendalyn closed the front door and headed out. So an afternoon of pre-season football was postponed. Instead, Will learned all about the princesses of Fairyborough. They briefly played hair salon, but his short hair wasn’t very fun for his stylist. Then they built a birdhouse, and went out for frozen yogurt. He may or may not have had a sparkly plastic barrette on the back of his head when they went for yogurt, but no one said anything.

Easily Confused Words: Callus vs. Callous

Callus and callous 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.

Callus (pronounced “kal-us”) is a noun. It means skin that is hardened or thickened as a result of repetitive work with hands. Callus’ can occur from sewing, picking bushels of crops, or working with handtools, just to name a few.

Callous (pronounced “kal-us”) is an adjective. It means to be dispassionate, unsympathetic, and unphased to the pains and crises of other people.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Callista was accused of being callous towards her warehouse workers. They complained of aching backs and callused hands. They were hustling more than usual to fulfill Christmas orders for her business.

Pebble, A Short Story

His first memory was feeling cramped. He was tucked into a warm ball with his feet near his eyes. Wriggling around, he discovered his mouth could punch a hole in the wall. So he punched a few more. Then pushing hard with his feet, the wall gave way. All at once, he was surrounded in blinding light.

A large-eyed, pink, naked little creature was squatted and looking at him. Several speckled rocks surrounded them. Around them, prickly sticks and needles were woven together. A very large, furry soft creature dropped in over them both.

The other pink creature started crying loudly, “chee, chee, chee,” with its mouth agape. The large creature stuffed something in its mouth. It used its mouth to lift away the shells of the wall that once held him captive.  Then it leapt away.

“What is that? And who are you?” he asked.

“I’m Cloudee. You’re Pebble. That’s Mom, she feeds us. I’m hungry. If I cry, I get food.”

As Mom returned, Cloudee and Pebble “cheed” their hearts out. This time, Pebble got the food. The large creature spoke to him.

“Hello, Pebble, welcome to the world. This is your sister, Cloudee. And I’m expecting a few more of you to arrive any day now. I’m going to hunt some more bugs and worms, and I’ll be right back.”

Pebble swallowed. It might have been bugs, it might have been a worm, but either way, yum. He was still hungry, though. He wondered where the others were hiding.

Here comes Mom again. He and Cloudee cried once more, and this time, it was Cloudee’s turn.

Mom made about twenty more trips to and fro, alternating which baby bird got a bug. The light around them seemed to be getting dimmer. When it was almost impossible to see outside, Mom settled down over the two of them and the warm, speckled rocks.

“I need you little ones to go to sleep now.”

“Mom, what am I?” Pebble asked.

“We’re birds. We can run. We can glide. We can fly. We eat bugs. We’re covered in feathers.”

“I don’t have any feathers, Mom. Neither does Cloudee.”

“You’re babies.”

“Where are my feathers? Will they ever grow?”

“Your feathers are sprouting. They’ll fill out soon, I promise.”

“And Cloudee’s?”

“Cloudee’s will, too.”

“When will the rocks open, Mom?”

“The rocks?”

“These speckled hard things around us.”

“Those are eggs. They’re your brothers and sisters, Pebble. They should arrive soon. I’m really tired now, Pebble. Get some rest.”

“Will I wake up in a rock again, Mom?”

“No, Pebble, it was an egg. Not a rock. That happens only once. Now shut your eyes. I can’t keep mine open one second more.”

“I have so many questions.”

“You can ask three more tomorrow.”

“Yes, Mom. Goodnight.”