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.


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