Easily Confused Words: Procure vs. Peculiar

Procure and peculiar 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.

Procure (pronounced “proh-kyoor”) is a verb. It means to buy, or to arrange a purchase.

Peculiar (pronounced “peh-kyool-yuhr”) is an adjective. It describes something odd, weird, or unconventional.  In the 1965, Marvin Gaye had a pop song “Ain’t That Peculiar?”. The song is about a man loving a woman more each time she treats him badly. The refrain expresses bewilderment at his affections, because they don’t add up with how he’s being treated.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Panya was ordering a new shipment for his company’s supply lines. His usual administrator was on leave, and someone new was filling in.

A copy of the list of materials to procure was in Panya’s inbox. He skimmed over it, and noticed the codes for the desired materials looked peculiar. He compared it to last year’s orders of the same equipment. Sure enough, the new list was totally wrong.

 

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