Easily Confused Words: Cyprus vs. Cypress

Cyprus and cypress 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.

Cyprus (pronounced “sigh-pruhss”) is a proper noun. It is the name of and island nation in the Mediterranean. It is south of Turkey, and east of Syria and Lebanon. Its capital is Nicosia.

Cypress (pronounced “sigh-priss”) is a noun. It means a tree species native to the US that grows in swamps.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Silas wasn’t sure he wanted to return to Cyprus after graduating college. He had enjoyed his time being an exchange student in America. His adopted family couldn’t be nicer. On weekends, as schoolwork allowed, he really enjoyed canoeing through the cypress swamps in Georgia and South Carolina.


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