Easily Confused Words: Sconce vs. Scone

Sconce and Scone 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.

Sconce (pronounced “skuh-awn-ts”) is a noun. It means a light fixture or lamp mounted on the wall of a stairway or stairwell. Their purpose is to light the stairs at night or in low light conditions, but they are also decorative.

Scone (two pronunciations: “skuh-own” and UK: “skuh-awn-ts”) is a noun. It means a breakfast quickbread originating in the UK. Scones have a variety of textures: some are dry and somewhat crunchy like a shortbread cookie, others a soft and moist like a muffin or cake.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Scott was helping out his grandparents around their house. Today’s task was picking up the new sconces for the stairways. The store wasn’t close by, so his grandma gave him a Coke and a couple pumpkin scones to snack on for the road.

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One thought on “Easily Confused Words: Sconce vs. Scone

  1. I’d forgotten about the word “sconce,” though I’m already familiar with “esconce.” Then again, it seems “esconce” is related to the second and more archaic meaning to “sconce.” (shelter, screen, trench, earthworks). And for another connection, this second “sconce” is related to the German “Schanze,” with which I’m familiar. 😄

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