Easily Confused Words: Peril vs. Parole

Peril and parole 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.

Peril (pronounced “pair-ihll”) is a noun. It means a state of danger, risk, or hazardous conditions.

Parole (pronounced “puh-roll”) is a noun. It means someone’s release from prison, but with conditions. If the conditions are violated, this person would likely be headed back to jail.

Parole has an adjective form, for example, in the phrase “parole officer.” This describes their role as a court appointed mentor for people recently released on parole.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Priyanka’s parolee, Paul, called her, saying some friends from his old crew called with an amazing business opportunity. Knowing they were sketchy characters who had got him in trouble in the first place, this raised a red flag for her.

“Paul, don’t associate with these guys. Don’t call them back. Start your life over. The minute you start hearing them out and giving them another chance, you put your parole in peril.”

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Easily Confused Words: Please vs. Pleas

Pleas and please 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.

Pleas (pronounced “plees”) is a plural form of the noun “plea.” It means a request for help or mercy.

Please (pronounced “plees”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an adverb, it is used to indicate politeness and respect when it’s added to commands and requests:
    • “Please come here.”
    • “Please stop punching the wall.”
    • “Please take out the garbage.”

The speaker wants obedience as a requited sign of respect.

  • As a verb, it means to make someone (or multiple people) happy or satisfied. It can also indicate procedure or orders are being followed.
  • As part of the idiom “oh please” or “child, please,” the speaker is indicating he/she is bothered by someone else’s nonsense, or not believing his/her nonsense.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Pili was out picking up some groceries for his mother on the way home from work. Standing in front of the eggs, he thought he heard pleas for help. He abandoned his cart and started walking down the main aisles when he saw an older man in another aisle had fallen down and a number of items had collapsed on top of him. Pili removed the cans and packages, and helped the man get to his feet. 

“Thank you, young man. Here’s $20 for your trouble, please take it.”

“Sir, I can’t take your money. A thank you is just fine. I am glad you are okay. But can I take you somewhere just to make sure you’re all right?”

“That would be really nice. Thank you.”

Easily Confused Words: Weekend vs. Weakened

Weekend and weakened 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.

Weekend (pronounced “week-ehnd”) is a noun. It means Saturday and Sunday. These are two days people working a 40 hour week typically have off from work.

Weakened (pronounced “week-ehnd”/”week-uhnd”) is the past tense of the verb “weaken.” It means to take the strength away from something or someone else.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Weit worked long hours as a pharmacist, concocting unique remedies for clients’ ailments. Some were strengthened in potency, some were weakened. This job paid well and offered many challenges. Unfortunately it also demanded a lot of long hours indoors under fluorescent lights. Once a month, he got a weekend off. The first thing he did on those special weekends was grab his kiteboard and catch some waves.

Easily Confused Words: Board vs. Bored

Board and bored 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.

Board (pronounced “bohrd”) is a noun. It means a rectangular piece of wood, or fibrous material formed into a typically rectangular shape.

Bored (pronounced “bohrd”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an adjective, it describes someone who is unenthusiastic about their circumstances, or someone describing his/herself and their unenthusiastic attitude about current circumstances.
  • As a verb, it is the past tense of bore. To bore someone means to tire or to wear out his/her interest with an activity. School lectures are notorious for creating bored, sleepy students.
  • As a verb, it is the past tense of bore. Bore means to cut a round hole into wood or other surface with a rotary cutting machine. Animals, like carpenter bees and woodpecker birds, bore holes with their mouths to create their nesting sites.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Boris was bored with his summer job at the hardware store. He was required to clean the floors and keep the aisles stocked with merchandise. Once a week, he made wood cutouts for children’s birdhouse classes. This involved cutting squares, rectangles, and polygons from pine boards, then holes had to be bored into the polygons for the entry holes. This job was so mundane. If most of the summer weren’t already gone, he would be looking for other work.

Easily Confused Words: Guerilla vs. Gorilla

Guerilla and gorilla are easily confused words. They are also homophones, meaning they sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things.

Guerilla (pronounced “goh-rill-uh”) has multiple meanings. It comes from the Spanish language.

  • As an noun, it means a fighting method where fighters hide and shoot from scattered points, instead of marching in a big block and shooting from that lineup. Historically, guerilla warfare has helped smaller, outmanned rebel fighters defeat larger, more organized armies.
  • As an adjective, it can describe warfare scenarios. In a figurative sense, it decribes clever, untraditional tactics for achieving goals.

Gorilla (pronounced “goh-rill-uh”) is a noun. It means a large, muscular, furry ape that has brown and/or black fur. It lives in thickly forested areas in Africa and eats plants. They walk by using their long arms with fisted hands; they bring up the rear on their short rear legs. Though their physique is intimidating, gorillas are shy, gentle animals. Aggression only comes into play in stressful situatons, like rivaling males intruding on another’s turf, or mothers defending babies.

In the movies, monstrously sized gorillas have been used as monsters for blockbuster films like King Kong.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Gordon was writing a graphic novel about a dystopian world without humans. In it, the apes had taken over formerly human civilizations. The chimps had an organized army, while the gorillas used guerilla warfare methods.

 

Easily Confused Words: Loan vs. Loam

Loan vs. Loam 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.

Loan (pronounced “lohn”) is a noun. It means a sum of borrowed money from a friend, family member, or more formally, from a bank.

Loam (pronounced “lohm”) is an adjective. It describes a kind of soil that is the ideal blend–nutrient rich, not too sandy or full of clay.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Lona has dreams of starting a new organic vegetable and herb farm. The land was left to her by a relative, but a soil test revealed it wasn’t highly desired loam soil. She would likely have to get investor help or get a loan to make the improvements needed to get her business off the ground.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Loaner vs. Loner and Easily Confused Words: Alone vs. A Loan.

Easily Confused Words: Chive vs. Chide

Chive and chide 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.

Chive (pronounced “cheye-v”) is a noun. It means the diced green stalks of spring onions. Chives are served in soup and atop fully loaded baked potatoes.

Chide (pronounced “cheye-d”) is a verb. It means to criticize and ridicule someone else.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Clive was chided by his coworkers. He overindulged in the cream cheese and chive dip at the office party. He reeked of onions for the rest of the day. His cubemates moved their laptops into the meeting room.