Easily Confused Words: Enact vs. Intact

Enact and intact 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.

Enact (pronounced “ihn-acked”) is a verb. It means to put into effect; for example, a law or ordinance.

Intact (pronounced “ihn-tacked”) is a noun. It means to be composed, to stay together in one piece. Typically this word is used when something fell or experienced an accident.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Enid was concerned that the club would not remain intact after the new leadership sought to enact a new set of restrictive bylaws. 


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