Easily Confused Words: Plodding vs. Plotting

Plodding vs. Plotting 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.

Plodding (pronounced “pluh-awd-ing”) is the gerund form of the verb plod. Plod means to walk or move forward at a slow, heavy footed pace. The gerund form is a present tense, meaning this activity is happening now or will happen in the future.

Plodding can also be used figuratively. For example, someone is progressing slowly on work he/she dislikes or doesn’t want to do, so he/she isn’t in a hurry to finish.

Plotting (pronounced “pluh-awt-ing” ) is the gerund form of the verb plot. To plot is to plan a course of action or travel. The gerund form is a present tense, meaning this activity is happening now, or will happen in the future. Plotting is often used interchangeably with scheming or planning.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Paulina was accused of plodding on her usual administrative work tasks. It was so hard to contain her enthusiasm and focus her attention to boring routines. She was a committee leader plotting a new series of conferences and special events that were work-related, but happening outside of work. Eventually, she realized she would never love answering the phones and making copies. She quit and got into event planning instead.

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