Easily Confused Words: Wrote vs. Rote

Wrote and rote are easily confused words. They are also homophones, meanings

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.

Wrote (pronounced “roht”) is the past tense of the verb write. To write can mean putting words to paper or screen. It can also mean using a pencil, pen, or other instrument to sign one’s name, or to make notes or comments.

So wrote indicates when someone did either of these things in the past. For example:

  • He wrote a note indicating he had an errand to run, but that was hours ago.
  • She wrote a letter of complaint and enclosed it with the faulty product that she shipped back to the company.

Rote (pronounced “roht”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means something that’s a regular habit, procedure, or routine
  • As an adjective, it describes an activity
  • As an adjective, it describes something that’s done from memory because it’s a routine or repeated activity.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Rotunda wasn’t sure she could commit to a weekly writing schedule. She awoke early and wrote 3000 words every morning, but it was a real bear those first two weeks.

By month four, though, it had become more rote. It had become such a habit that it felt unnatural not to start her day writing. She also noticed an added benefit: she felt more clearheaded and focused in all her other activities the rest of the day.





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