Easily Confused Words: Cot vs. Caught

Cot and caught 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.

Cot (pronounced “cawt”) is a noun. It means a temporary bedding piece used in camping, lodging, or field medical units. Cots often have shallow mattresses, and their frame often fold for easy transit and storage.

Caught (pronounced “cawt”) is the past tense of the verb catch. It means having received a thrown object, or having ensnared a creature or object with a trapping device.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Cavan was willing to risk getting caught in a guest bedroom at the BnB rather than spend another night on the miserable cot in the scary basement. His stepbrother, the owner, wasn’t very nice, either. 


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