Easily Confused Words: Opening vs. Opining

Opening and opining 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.

Opening (pronounced “oh-pehn-eng”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means the act of moving a door to move through it, cutting the tape on a package to get to the contents.
  • As a noun, it can mean the access point for entry or obtaining contents of an object.
  • As an adjective, it describes the first night or weekend for an art show, a live theater performance, a movie, or other creative work being offered to the public.

Opining (pronounced “oh-pIne-eng”) is a verb. It means to offer one’s opinion in written form for public consumption and possibly, response. In the millennium, opining has become a common trend of discussing news, events, and their impact on the web. Once upon a time, this was reserved for the editorial page and other very specific places.

 The following story uses both words correctly:

Opal really enjoyed her job as an art critic. She was the first to see all her city’s arts openings. She wrote about them for the Scene, a local online entertainment weekly. She enjoyed opining about the shows, introducing which fresh new creations townspeople that really be delighted to see versus ones they should skip.


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