Easily Confused Words: Ensconce vs. Sconce

Ensconce and sconce 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.

Ensconce (pronounced “ihn-skawn-ss”) is a verb. It means to be surrounded, to be enveloped by, or to be concealed.

Sconce (pronounced “skuh-awn-ts”) is a noun. It means a light fixture mounted on a wall. Sconces are often found in hallways, stairwells, and stairways.

The following story uses both words correctly:

A storm began to rage outside. Enzo noticed the sconce flickering overhead as he headed to his room. When the power inevitably went out, he ensconced himself under a comforter with a flashlight and a pile of his favorite books. An hour later, his mom struggled to find him in the dark. It was time for dinner, and she had just prepared pasta fagioli on the camp stove.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Sconce vs. Scones

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