Easily Confused Words: Coups vs. Coupe

Coups and coupe 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.

Coups (pronounced “koos”) is the plural form of the noun coup. Coup is a government takeover by the military, or another group.

Coupe (pronounced “koop”, can be pronounced “cou-pay” if there’s an accent mark over the e)  is a noun. In the US, this typically means a small, two-door car, using a French word that was borrowed from train travel.

The following story uses both words correctly:

In the dead of night, Cooper loaded a small sack of his belongings into his business coupe and drove across a remote section of the border. A journalist, he had received a tip that more coups were coming in the country’s future. It would be very unstable for months. For someone to criticize those events and the people at the center of them in any way would prove deadly for him. It was hard to watch his country go through such turmoil. So many egos unwilling to work together for the country’s sake.  


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