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.


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