Easily Confused Words: Melody vs. Malady

Melody and Malady 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.

Melody (pronounced “mell-oh-dee”) is a noun. It’s a music term. A melody is a sequence of notes. It’s also used to describe the sung part of a song versus the bass and drums that set the rhythm and repetition parts for the song. In an instrumental version, the sung part might be played by a instrument instead.

Melody is also used as a woman’s first name. In Doctor Who, there’s a character named Melody Pond.

Malady (pronounced “muh-laid-ee”) is a noun. It means a problem, an illness, a wound, or another difficulty suffered by someone or something.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Melbourne, a nurse in the burn clinic, was talking with his best friend over a few beers. He confided that it was an often a hard place to work. It was hard to see people in pain. Especially when patients were young children wounded in house fires. But things were really starting to turn around.

A few months back, the clinic decided to try something controversial. They added music and even invited members of the local orchestra to come in, visit, and play for patients. Over a six month period, they found patients were in better spirits. Their maladies healed faster and there was less infection rates on wounds when music with soothing melodies was played in the patients’ rooms.


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