Easily Confused Words: Addict vs. Attic

Addict and attic 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.

Addict (pronounced “add-ickt”) is a noun. It means someone who is dependent on a substance for peace of mind or survival.

In current US media, a major concern is opioid addiction.

Attic (pronounced “at-ick”) is a noun. It means a top floor room typically used as storage or a spare bedroom. [This room can also be called a loft.]

In areas with an elevation below sea level, basements are not an option; attics are the upstairs alternative.

The following story uses both words correctly:

After months of trying to track the murderer for recent crimes, the perpetrator was located in the attic of an abandoned house. It was a drug addict receiving execution orders for cash, the cash naturally being used to support a possessive habit. 

 

 

Easily Confused Words: Exited vs. Excited

Exited and excited are easily confused words. I see these confused on Twitter quite a bit.

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.

Exited (pronounced “ehx-iht-ihd”) is the past tense of the verb “exit.” It is used to indicate when someone left a vehicle, a building, or other

Excited (pronounced “ehx-sigh-tihd”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an adjective, it describes someone being thrilled, very happy, or positively surprised by recent events.
  • As an past tense verb, it describes someone else’s reactions to recent good news.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Exodia was so excited after her favorite pop star crush shook her hand while onstage. She almost fainted after it happened. She excited the arena with a friend. She wet her face in a bathroom sink and took a breather.

Easily Confused Words: Taut vs. Taught

Taut and taught 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.

Taut (pronounced “tawt”) is an adjective. It means to pull a rope, a string, or similar object to the utmost tightness. The odds of the rope breaking are very high when pulled to its tension limits.

Taught (pronounced “tawt”) is the past tense of the verb “teach.” It would be used to talk about teaching you did, or who instructed you as a student in the past.

For example:

  • In elementary school, I was taught a core curriculum including reading, addition, subtraction, and physical science.
  • Over the summer, you were taught French.
  • In preschool, they were taught to tie their shoes.
  • I taught middle school students about science.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Travis felt out of his element. Usually he taught math. Today he was coach and referee for a spring field day at his school. Specifically, he supervising a tug of war between third and fourth graders. The kids had pulled the rope taut. It was a stalemate: the scarf tied at the center of the rope wasn’t budging over the required line to enable a winning team. Then someone across the field yelled “Ice cream!”

The fourth graders let go. The third graders fell backwards like dominoes. They had won by default.

Easily Confused Words: Ballot vs. Ballet

Ballot and ballet 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.

Ballot (pronounced “bough-luht”; rhymes with mallet) is a noun.

  • It means a paper or electronic form a citizen uses to vote. Votes can be for political leaders, new laws, or changes to existing laws.
  • In organizations, it means a written note indicating a preference for organizational business: officer choices, spending funds, etc.

Ballet (pronounced “bah-lay”; rhymes with beret, delay) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means a form of dance famous for leaps, elegant spins on one foot, dramatic lifts of female dancers by male dancers.
  • As an adjective, it describes costumes, shoes, and other items related to this form of dance: ballet slippers, ballet tutu, ballet dance class.

The following story uses both words correctly:

It was almost the end of the year, and there was a Beta Club fund surplus. Club members were asked to vote by secret ballot: should they go to a baseball game, a ballet, or throw a party for fun?

Easily Confused Words: Taciturn vs. Tactile

Taciturn and tactile 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.

Taciturn (pronounced “tass-ih-tuhrn”) is an adjective. It describes someone who is quiet, reluctant to speak. Someone of few words.

There’s a legend that President Calvin Coolidge was a taciturn man. Once a woman bet him she could make him say more than two words. He turned to her and said, “You lose.”

Tactile (pronounced “tack-tuhll”) is an adjective. It describes something with a touchable quality, or something for use with one’s hands. For example, Braille, the raised dot system that enables the blind to read, has a tactile quality. Braille appears on signage, and some keypads so a blind person can navigate the system as easily as a sighted person.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Tacita was a taciturn person; she preferred that her art do the talking. Originally a painter, she turned to sculpture and pottery for their tactile qualities.

Easily Confused Words: Chyron vs. Chronicle

Chyron and Chronicle 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.

Chyron (pronounced “chi-ron”; rhymes with “environ”) is a noun. It means text appearing at the bottom of the screen. Typically they are seen crawling across the bottom of the screen on news channels and during newscasts on other channels.

Chronicle (pronounced “krawn-ick-uhl”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to document or write down a detailed account of events. This can be like a diary or log, or something more public, like a newspaper column focused on a specific subject.
  • As a noun, it means the document where records are being made.
  • As a proper noun, it can be the name of a newspaper or news program. For example the San Francisco Chronicle.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Kai was a seasoned reporter at the Charleville Chronicle. He enjoyed writing longform stories and doing in-depth research for 20 years. He had planned on doing this for a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the audience’s attention spans had shortened, their patience had waned, and they had grown to distrust reporters. They often paid attention to headlines delivered crawling chyron-style: just an encapsulating phrase or a tweets-worth gist of each event. The old “Who, what, where, when, and why” now was only “who, what, when, and where.” There was just no time for “why” anymore. If a “why” was proposed, it was accused of having a bias or agenda.

It really broke his heart to see his profession watered down and cheapened in this way.

Easily Confused Words: Druzy vs. Drowsy

Druzy and drowsy 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.

Druzy (pronounced “drew-zee”) is a noun. It is tiny crystals on the surface of a colorful mineral. Today (2017), it is used in jewelry pieces for its sparkly quality. It is not expensive to cut and manufacture into jewelry compared to more precious gems.

Druse is a geology (aka “science of rocks”) term, from which “druzy” is derived. Click the link to learn more.

Drowsy (pronounced “droww-zee”; rhymes with mousy) is an adjective. It describes a feeling of sleepiness, fatigue, and tiredness. The feeling of finding it hard to keep one’s eyes open.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Doralee wanted to find some druzy earrings to match her new spring formal dress, but her allergy medications had made her drowsy. She would have to stop driving and return home. Maybe after a nap, she could try again, or shop online.