Easily Confused Words: Culture vs. Couture

Culture and couture 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.

Culture (pronounced “KULL-tyoor”) is a noun. It means the traditions and expected code of behaviors in a country or an organization.

Couture (pronounced “KOH-tyoor”) is a noun. It is French. It means clothes within a collection or reflecting a larger trend. It can also mean the work of a dressmaker or designer, or the field of dressmaking.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Cosette was disappointed that her fashion and couture tastes weren’t valued in the culture of an accounting firm where she worked.


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