Easily Confused Words: Amid vs. Arid

Amid and arid 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.

Amid (pronounced “uh-mihd”) is a preposition. It is used to indicate something being in the midst of other things, or being among other objects or events. It can also mean following certain events, a consequence.

Arid (pronounced “err-rihd”) is an adjective. It describes dry, non-humid air. It’s frequently used to describe desert climate. As they say in Arizona, it’s a dry heat.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Ari sought solace in an arid climate to recover from a recent bout of bronchitis. He also looked forward to some solace amid rumors that his high profile marriage was falling apart. There weren’t many paparazzi or gossip columnists to be found in New Mexico’s southern desert. Though you might look like “that guy from TV”, no one cared to confirm it.

What a respite to be ordinary for a change, to be not talked about, he thought.

Easily Confused Words: Eek vs. Eke

Eek and eke are easily confused words. They are also homophones, which means they sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

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.

Eek (pronounced “ee-k”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an interjection, it’s an expression of fear, terror or surprise.
  • As a proper noun, it means a monetary unit in Estonia.

Eke (pronounced “ee-k”) is a verb. It means to make a low wages, and barely afford a decent living.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Edgar Efrem, nicknamed ee, let out an eek! when he realized he wasn’t going to make his rent payment on time. Trying to eke out a living and pay student loans on his current salary just wasn’t cutting it. He was already on a Ramen diet.

Easily Confused Words: Sly vs. Sleigh

Sly and sleigh 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.

Sly (pronounced “sl-eye”) is an adjective. It means clever, calculating, or capable of deception.

  • In the phrase “on the sly,” someone is doing something in secret; he/she presumes no one else notices, or really cares enough to wonder about it. Typically it’s something wrong, but not always.
  • Sly can also be a noun, a nickname for Sylvester.

Sleigh (pronounced “sl-eh”) is a noun. It means a large cart with blades on the bottom edges instead of wheels. Sleighs are intended for travel over ice, pulled by reindeer, or dogs, or animals suited for extremely cold weather.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Svetlana wanted to buy her brother Silas a sleigh for his surprise birthday. The hard part wasn’t buying it, it was figuring out where to stash it so he wouldn’t find it. Silas was pretty sly, he sensed when something was up. She couldn’t always keep a secret, or contain her enthusiasm for happy news.

This post is related to other posts: Easily Confused Words: Slay vs. Sleigh.

Easily Confused Words: Dew vs. Do

Dew and do are easily confused words. They are also homophones. This means they sound the same, but have different spellings, and different meanings.

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.

Dew (pronounced “doo”) is a noun. It means the condensation that forms on land and other surfaces as night becomes day.

Do (pronounced “doo”) is a verb, it means to perform a task or activity.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Domingo had just gotten out of school the day before. He rode bikes, flew kites, everything that he dreamed of doing while in school. By the next morning he was bored out of his mind. He had run out of all those things to do, he was watching the dew disappear from the furniture on the back porch.

Easily Confused Words: Peddling vs. Paddling

Peddling and paddling 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.

Peddling (pronounced “ped-dlihng”) is the gerund form of the verb peddle. It means to sell cheap or low quality goods on the street or other high traffic area. It can also mean selling stuff for quick cash.

Paddling (pronounced “p-ahd-dlihng”) is the gerund form of the verb paddle. It means how animals swim, moving their legs to stay afloat.

As a verb, it can also mean traveling via a canoe (kayak, gondola, or paddleboard). The rider uses a large flat fin on a stick (paddle) to move the boat through the water. Paddles can be wooden, metal, plastic, rubber, or a combination of materials.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Padget was paddling like mad to keep up with the members of the kayak club. He had just moved to the Portland area. He was trying out more outdoors activities to make new friends. Unfortunately, peddling CDs, books, and furniture was required to scrounge up the cash to afford all that new equipment.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Pedaling vs. Peddling.

Easily Confused Words: Trimester vs. Semester

Trimester and semester 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.

Trimester is a noun. It means a 3-month period.

Human pregnancy lasts nine months, which are divided into three trimesters. Each trimester involves developmental milestones. Click here to read more.

[The prefix “tri-” typically means “three” in many English words: A trident is a tool with three tines. A triangle is a shape with three sides. A tri-county area involves three US counties where the population density is high; people move within those three counties to live, work, and play. Tri-county areas can cross state lines.]

Semester is a noun. It means a 15 to 18 week period of time making up half a school year in US public schools. Private schools and foreign schools have different practices for school terms.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Thijs had just finished his final semester at college when he learned that his fiancé was expecting. She was three weeks into her first trimester. It was proving difficult to find a residency in dentistry in a slow economy. So he took a position in his family’s flower and landscaping business. He would remain there for 10 years. 

Easily Confused Words: Charge vs. Change

Charge and change 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.

Charge (chuh-arr-juh) is a verb.

  • It can mean to run and confront an opponent, a sports goal line, or some physical adversity. Figuratively, it can mean leading an effort against a person or point of adversity.
  • Among herding animals, when they run as a group, this is charging.
  • In commerce, it can also mean paying for goods on a credit card. Sometimes credit cards are called charge cards.
  • In law enforcement, it can also mean bringing accusations forward against someone for a court case.

Change (pronounced “chuh-ehn-juh) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to move from one appearance or position to another. To transform, to diverge, to alternate. To do something different, to be something different from a previous state.
  • As a noun, it means the money due to someone who paid a fee with a much larger bill. For instance, If a bill was $15 and someone paid $20, he/she would be due $5  in change.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Chauncey was feeling bored. She decided her wardrobe needed a change. She didn’t want to charge the items to her card, so she stopped by the bank to withdraw some cash.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Changes vs. Chances.