Easily Confused Words: Repose vs. Response

Repose and response 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.

Repose (pronounced “ree-pohzz”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means the state of relaxation, state of sitting reclined, being a state of rest by lying down.
  • As a verb, it means to recline, to rest, or to get in a relaxed position.

Response (pronounced “ree-spawnss”) is a noun. It means a reply or behavioral reaction to someone else’s actions or speech. It can also be a written document replying to someone else’s creative work, commentary, or speaking.

The following story uses both words correctly:

“Why hasn’t the pool been cleaned of bugs? Hello? Can I get a response?” 

But Resnick couldn’t hear his dad’s pleas. Sitting in repose in the hammock, listening to his headphones at full volume.


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