Easily Confused Words: Fiscal vs. Physical

Fiscal and physical 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.

Fiscal (pronounced “fiss-kull”) is an adjective. It describes money and financial matters.

Physical (pronounced “fizz-uh-cull”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an adjective, it describes things or activities related to strenuous activity using one’s muscles, using one’s body. Sports are all about physical activity and competition.
  • As a noun, it means a doctor’s appointment intended to determine one’s health. Often school children have to have a physical before participating in team sports.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Fiske had been experiencing a great deal of stress and sleepless nights over his young companies’ fiscal problems. A friend suggested he get more physical exercise in order to feel less overwhelmed and daunted by these problems. Sure enough, it worked.

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