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.

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