Easily Confused Words: Quarry vs. Query

Quarry and query 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.

Quarry (pronounced “kworree”; rhymes with lorry) is a noun. It means an open pit mine where minerals, slate and stone are sourced.

Query (pronounced “kwairee”; rhymes with dairy) is a verb. It means to ask questions from a person or on the internet.

The following story uses both words correctly:

When an accident at the local quarry left 10 workers dead, the surrounding community was devastated. Local journalists queried the owners about safety standards and worker fatigue, but received no immediate response. There were a lot of unanswered questions no one seemed in a hurry to answer. Perhaps the truth was too scary to confront, but the longer the delay, the longer it would take to learn from any mistakes that were possibly made.



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