Easily Confused Words: Nun vs. None

Nun and none are easily confused words. They are also homophones, meaning they are pronounced the same way, but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

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.

Nun (pronounced “nuhn”) is a noun. It means a woman who has taken vows to belong to specific religious order. Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhism religious groups all have nuns.

None (pronounced “nuhn”) has multiple forms.

  • As an adjective. It means having a quantity of zero (0.)
  • As a pronoun, it refers to a lack of interest of involvement by one person, or a group of people:
    • None responded to our request for an interview.
    • I wanted to try Sylvia’s cookies, but none are left now.
    • Libertarian ballots offer None of the above (N.O.T.A) as an option.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Being the first daughter in her family, Nuala was expected to become a nun upon turning 18. Nuala learned about these intentions after her Confirmation at 13.

When she graduated high school, she was asked if she had any objections or wished differently for her life. She said no, she had none. Secretly though, she had been in love with a boy in her class, Nolan, and it was very heart-wrenching to accept her family’s traditions. 

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