Easily Confused Words: Pleats vs. Plates

Pleats and plates 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.

Pleats (pronounced “pleetz”) is the plural form of the noun pleat. It means a folded piece of fabric with consistent width, often sewed in place at the top and then ironed into place. Perhaps the most famous pleats are those seen on Scottish kilts, and plaid skirts worn for school uniforms. But pleats can also appear on the front of pants and shorts between the fly and the pockets.

Plates (pronounced “playtz”) is the plural form of the noun plate.

  • It can mean a flat dish used by a person to eat a meal. Plates can be made of porcelain, china, styrofoam, paper, etc.
  • It can mean a meal or snack portion of food.
  • In seismology, tectonic plates that shift beneath the surface of the earth and occasionally collide and rub together. These collisions cause earthquakes. Click the link to learn more.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Pleasance had planned every last detail for her someday perfect wedding. From the pleats in her going away dress to the design on her wedding china plates, she had really thought of everything. 

This post relates to other posts: Easily Confused Words: Platte vs. Plait, Easily Confused Words: Plates vs. Plaits


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