Easily Confused Words: Sanctimonious vs. Sanctity

Sanctimonious and sanctity 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.

Sanctimonious (pronounced “saynk-tih-moh-knee-uhs”) is an adjective with negative connotations. It describes someone who puts on a show of religious integrity, piety, or “holier than thou” attitude towards others.

Sanctity (pronounced “saynk-tih-tee”) is a noun. It means something sacred or holy.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Sancho was married for 20 years and espoused the sanctity of matrimony. He counseled others on their relationship struggles. He was controversial by confronting and calling out people who got divorced during his presentations.

So it surprised everyone many years later when it was revealed he had five children with two other women. In hindsight, his advice was viewed as sanctimonious, not to mention hypocritical.

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Easily Confused Words: Countess vs. Countless

Countess and countless 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.

Countess (pronounced “kownt-ess”) is a noun. It is a title of a female count, or the spouse of a Count or Earl. Countesses and counts are members of European and English nobility.

Countless (pronounced “kownt-lihss”) is an adjective. It describes a numerous or multiple amount that hasn’t been calculated or quantified. For example:

  • She’s had countless opportunities for improving her grade. She just doesn’t care.
  • He wasn’t sure he was sold on the countless benefits described in the job interview.

The following story uses both words correctly:

The new Countess was ruffling feathers in the kingdom. The queen had expected her to know her place and adopt to proper customs of the the nobility. Instead, the new countess constantly upstaged the Queen at public events with her unconventional attire and atypical mannerisms.

Easily Confused Words: Yoke vs. Yolk

Yoke and yolk 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.

Yoke (pronounced “yoh-kk”; rhymes with “oak”) is a noun. It means a harness that fits around the neck of a domestic animal. It is used to connect a wagon or cart to the animal for easier pulling. Animals that wear yokes include oxen, horses, mules, and donkeys.

Yolk (pronounced “yohl-kk”) is a noun. It means the center of a bird egg that, when fertilized, develops into a chick. Yolks are often a dark orange-yellow.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Yoko was traveling the Oregon Trail in an authentic ox-driven wagon. She was journaling her trip and filming anecdotes about her experience for an eventual documentary.

Today, she was struggling to get her animals moving. They didn’t want to get up this morning. They were slow to eat the grass and cooked egg yolk meal she had prepared for them. They were stubborn to put on the yoke apparatus for pulling the wagon.

Nothing about this trip or this process was as easy as booking a train or cross country flight online.

Easily Confused Words: Latter vs. Ladder

Latter and ladder 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.

Ladder (pronounced “l-add-uhr”) is a noun. It means a climbing tool typically made of wood or steel. It is made of two long parallel bars with horizontal bars in between used as climbing steps. Some ladders lean against a structure to enable a stable surface for climbing.

Others, like folding ladders used for painting a house or wall. They are self-supporting, and look like a capital letter A.

Latter (pronounced “l-at-uhr”) is an adjective. When someone offers you two choices, the first one can be referred to as “the former,” and the second one is “the latter.” In a list of more than two choices, the last one can also qualify as “the latter.”

The following story uses both words correctly:

Lattimore called to his partners, Latisha and Lana:  “I need a nail gun and a ladder, guys.”  They were spending a Saturday working on the latest Habitat for Humanity project.

“Which do you need first, Lat?”

“I need the ladder. You know, the latter choice?”

“You’re full of dad jokes, did anyone ever tell you that?” 

Easily Confused Words: Vital vs. Virtual

Vital and virtual 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.

Vital (pronounced “v-eye-tuhl”) is an adjective. It describes something needed to support life or survival. For biological organisms, this includes clean air and water. In a figurative sense, vital can describe a key player in a workplace or organization, or a required resource for functioning, like money.

Virtual (pronounced “vuhr-tyoo-uhll”) is an adjective.

  • It can describes something lifelike or true to life.
  • It can describe something that convincingly appears a certain way, but may not be the actual case.
  • It can describe an image simulated by a mirror or other optics device.
  • It can describe an simulation created by computer software.

You may have noticed that virtual looks like virtue, a related noun.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Vidar was in his third year of studying computer science and virtual reality at college. He was sitting out on the quad, taking a break from studying, when he witnessed a car hit a bicyclist. As a crowd gathered, he ran to help the girl splayed on the roadway. First he checked her vital signs, and asked his friend, Vicente, to call emergency services. 

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Vital vs. Viral.

Easily Confused Words: Phrase vs. Parse

Phrase and parse 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.

Phrase (pronounced “frayz”) is a noun. It is a grammar term that means a set of words. Phrases can be part of a sentence; they can also make up a line in song lyrics or poetry.

Parse (pronounced “parrrss”; rhymes with “farce”) is a verb.

  • It can mean to analyze a sentence grammatically, identifying parts of speech.
  • It can means to decipher or break down elements to solve a complicated problem.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Perseus was writing his latest political column for the Pigeonville Press. The mysterious governor had just given this year’s state of the state address. On the surface, these addresses sounded upbeat. The governor was very upbeat, smooth, and confident in his speech delivery. People left with a good feeling without knowing why. Meanwhile, the state had problems that didn’t appear to be getting resolved anytime soon.

Perseus found it took multiple reads of what the address said to accurately assess what going on. He found parsing each sentence and phrase revealed deeper, sometimes potentially troubling, truths. 

 

 

Easily Confused Words: Implicit vs. Implicate

Implicit and implicate are easily confused words. Both words are related to “imply.”

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.

Implicit (pronounced “ihm-plih-siht”) is an adjective.

  • It describes something implied, but not openly, clearly, specifically stated.
  • It describes an underlying or under the surface quality. For example, today (2017) there’s a lot of controversy today about implicit bias in law enforcement, and how it affects how the police approach and do their jobs with people of color versus white people.
  • It describes something felt or intuited, but not specifically spoken, like trust, confidence, in another person or entity.
  • It describes something present, but not discussed or called attention to.
  • In math, it describes dependent variables not explicitly expressed by independent variables.

Implicate (pronounced “ihm-plih-kayt”) is a verb.

  • It means to indicate someone’s involvement in a crime. Perhaps he/she spent a lot of time with the perpetrator, made a lot of communications with them, spent money with them or an organization of theirs, or Perhaps evidence of his/her presence was found with the perpetrator or their belongings. One or more of these things could implicate someone.
  • It means to indicate an interdependence, connection, or cause-effect relationship between things.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Imperia had been asked to handle a work dispute. Her client, a contractor named Emilia, insisted she was told she would be paid $5000 to help plan a party for a local business owner. Months later, she still had not been compensated.

The business owner of Supreme Enterprises, LLC disputed the claim, saying no such agreement had taken place. Emilia had little experience, so she was willing to work pro bono. He didn’t have to stake his reputation on her. He was doing her a favor. He could not be implicated when no contract had been signed.

Unfortunately, this work had been agreed to via conversation and a handshake, At the time, Emilia held an implicit sense of trust in dealing with such an important person. Perhaps she was intimidated and in awe as well.