Easily Confused Words: Rapt vs. Rapped

Rapt and rapped 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.

Rapt (pronounced “rappt”; rhymes with apt) is an adjective. It describes something highly focused or fully engaged. For example, rapt attention, rapt energy.

A related noun is “raptor,” which refers to birds of prey like owls, hawks, ospreys, and falcons. These birds are known for their laser-like focus on food sources before quietly flying in and scooping them up. Raptors definitely display rapt attention when hungry or feeding their offspring.

Rapped (pronounced “rappt”) has multiple meanings.

  • As the past tense of the verb “rap.” In music, to rap is to talk quickly in rhyming verse.
    • For example: “Many people think DJ Mac rapped on that album, but it was actually  Rubixx Mix.”
  • As the past tense of the verb “rap”, meaning to knock loudly and fast on a door or other hard surface.
    • For example: “Back in college, 8am classes were the worst. When I fell asleep, the professor rapped on my desk, or dropped a book on the floor to wake me up. Really, he could have just tried to make the class more stimulating.”

The following story uses both words correctly:

Condor had the respect of a lot of communities. She rapped in a style all her own, which made her distinctive and unforgettable in an overcrowded marketplace. She also used her songs and platform to give controversial and marginalized issues rapt attention in a noisy world. For people who felt they didn’t have a voice or weren’t listened to, getting this recognition was deeply meaningful.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Rapt vs. Wrapped.

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