Easily Confused Words: Succulent vs. Succulents

Succulent and succulents 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.

Succulent (pronounced “suck-you-lint”) is an adjective. It describes food, often meat, that is just the right balance of cooked, juicy, and flavorful.

Succulents (“suck-you-lints”) is a noun. It means plants like aloe vera, cacti, and echevarias. These plants are always green, with typically thick and pulpy trunks, branches and leaves, and a tendency to store water.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Suchira was so glad she stopped at the cantina for some steak tacos and cactus. The steak was succulent and well-spiced. The cacti platter, aka the succulents, provided just the right amount of firm bite accented by jalapeños, poblanos peppers and margarita cocktail juice.

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