Easily Confused Words: Advantages vs. Advantageous

Advantages and advantageous 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.

Advantages (pronounced US:”add-van-tuh-juhz” UK: uhd-VUHN-tuh-juhz”) is the plural form of the noun advantage. An advantage is a trait or event that is favorable or lucky to a particular person, type of person, or group of people. It can mean a benefit. It can mean a position of superiority when compared to others in a sport, skill or talent.

Advantageous (pronounced “add-VAN-tay-juss”; rhymes with courageous) is an adjective. It describes situations, or circumstances, that favor one party over another, or others. For example: knowing someone who works at a company often proves advantageous when applying for a job there.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Ajwa Anjum, an economist with the Agility Institute, says that it’s an advantageous time to be looking for a new job.

“The economy is continuing to grow.  There are a number of advantages for hiring an apprentice or junior staffer and starting to train them to be leaders in advance of the older generation’s departure,” he says.

“So much knowledge is lost every time a person retires. It’s a common mistake: the company starts looking for a replacement in a job after the last person’s retirement has started, rather than planning years ahead for that inevitable event.”


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