Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Jicama vs. Hiccup

Jicama and hiccup 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.

Jicama (pronounced “hee-kuh-muh”; also “hih-kuh-muh”) is a noun. It is a Mexican potato, sometimes called a Mexican turnip. It’s often shaped like a squished top, or pattypan squash. Jicama can be safely eaten raw, though it must be peeled first. Learn more about jicamas here. [Read about the hazards of eating other potatoes species raw here.]

Hiccup (“hihk-uhp”; rhymes with pickup, stickup) is a noun. It means a muscle spasm in a person’s chest that causes an uncontrollable high-pitch belching noise. Typical cures for hiccups include holding one’s breath, or drinking a glass of water in small sips.

The following story uses both words correctly:

As her mom talked with her sisters and aunts, little toddler Jimena grabbed at all the bowls in reach. She stuffed cubes of jicama, mango, cheese, and avocado in her mouth. Her mother didn’t notice what she was up. But then, she got the hiccups. 

“Mija, you’re eating too fast,” her mother said. “Here, have some water. Drink it slllooowwwllyy.” 

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Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Ubiquitous vs. Obsequious

Ubiquitous and obsequious 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.

Ubiquitous (pronounced “yoo-bihk-kwih-tuss”) is an adjective. It describes something that is common and abundant. In spring, flowers are ubiquitous.

Obsequious (pronounced “uhb-see-kwee-uss”) is an adjective. It describes someone acting very servile, submissive around others.

The following story uses both words correctly:

If it’s Oscar night on the red carpet, you can expect the following:

The famously beautiful and beautifully famous people parade through in designer clothes. Obsequious photographers crawl over each other to try to get the perfect shot. The sidelines are ubiquitous with starstruck, gushing fans screaming at their idols. 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Prawn vs. Prone

Prawn and prone 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.

Prawn (pronounced “prawnn”; rhymes with fawn, lawn, dawn) is a noun. It means a small crustacean species (imagine a miniature lobster) that lives in fresh water. Their cousins, shrimp, live in salt water.

Prone (pronounced “proh-nn”; rhymes with hone, moan) is an adjective.

  • It can describe something with a tendency toward a behavior or activity.
  • It can also describe something lying flat, face down.

The following story uses both words correctly:

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Prawn vs. Pawn

Pravar was very excited to make a vegetable primavera with his grandma today. His mother dropped him off and he ran in the house. But it was unusually quiet. No music was playing. His grandma didn’t greet him. He walked in the kitchen after he passed the cabinets, he found freshly unfrozen prawns spilled on the floor. Next them, his grandma was lying face down.

“Grandma,” he shook her arm, “are you awake? are you okay?” He was scared.

She opened her eyes. “Hello Pravar. I’m in a lot of pain.”

“I”ll call EMS. You could have broken something.”

“I just went to get some spices off the shelf and suddenly my arm started aching.”

“Um, hello EMS? I’m at 432 Preyton Place in Providence. Preeda Patel has had a stroke and needs your help right away. I’m her grandson, Pravar.”

“We’re dispatching a team to your home right now.”

Pravar was still scared for his grandma, but he needed to call his parents and let them know what was going on.

“Thank you Pravar.” said his grandma, weakly. “You’re not prone to panic, are you? ‘Just like your dad.”

 

 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Glacé vs. Glacier

Glacé (accent over the e) and Glacier 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.

Glacé (pronounced “gla-say”; rhymes with caché, sashay) has multiple meanings. It’s a culinary or food word.

  • As an adjective, it describes food frosted or iced with syrup, glaze, frosting, or another shiny coating.
  • As an adjective, it describes fabric with a gloss or sheen to its surface.
  • As an noun, it can mean crystallized or candied fruit. Sometimes soap or body wash has this name if its fragrance is meant to imitate this specific dessert.

Glacier (pronounced “glay-shurr”; rhymes with erasure) is a noun. It means a large area of snow and ice that covers the valley and lower-lying parts of a mountain range.  Glacier National Park is located in Montana, in the upper northwest of the continental United States. It is part of the Rocky Mountains.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Gladys traveled to Glacier National Park for Christmas break. She enjoyed skiing in the Rockies and climbing the glaciers. But she also really enjoyed aprés ski treats. She tried ice wine for the first time, and the Cherry Glacé dessert she had one night was one of the best she’d had in recent memory.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Debut vs. Debit

Debut and debit 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.

Debut (pronounced “day-byoo”; rhymes with review) is a noun. It means an introduction into society, or a first appearance on the marketplace.

Debit (pronounced “debb-iht”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to remove a specific amount of money from someone’s account.
  • As a noun, it means the specific amount of money taken from someone’s account for bill payments or regular purchases.
  • As an adjective, it describes an item that runs on a debits and credits system. For example, the bank card attached to a checking account is called a debit card. Before they became the preferred payment method, people paid with cash, wrote a check, or used a credit card.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Dearbhail wanted everything to be perfect for her company’s debut in the marketplace. She about went into a panic attack when her debit card got declined. Thankfully it was a mistake, and it worked the second time she swiped. Maybe in her nervousness, she had incorrectly entered her PIN code the first time.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Filet vs. Filly

Filet and filly 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.

Filet (pronounced “fuh-lay”; rhymes with delay) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means a piece of fish whose spine and rib bones have been removed before it was cooked. By removing the bones, it is safer and easier to eat.
  • As a verb, it means to slice a fish along its top and bottom, and remove its spine and ribs. Ideally the fishmonger can remove the bones all in one piece. Otherwise it’s hard to see and feel ribs embedded in the flesh.

Filly (pronounced “fihll-ee”; rhymes with silly, lily, hilly) is a noun. It means a young female horse, once grown, she will be called a mare. A young male horse is called a colt; once it’s an adult, it’s called a stallion. To learn more about domesticated horse terminology, click here.

In slang, “filly” has also been used to mean a young, attractive woman.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Phyllis and Filbert found a great spot in the infield to watch the Kentucky Derby. Phyllis had bought the biggest flowery hat should could find. Filbert brought a golf umbrella. It came in handy to block all the mud and water that flew up off the track as the fillys and colts raced past them. 

After the race they had some trout filet sandwiches at a nearby restaurant. In spite of the rain, it had been a beautiful day. 

 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Tired vs. Tried

Tired and tried 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.

Tired (pronounced “t-eye-uhrrd”; rhymes with fired, mired, sired) is an adjective. It describes someone or a creature that is fatigued, sleepy, or lacking energy. It can also describe an emotional state of boredom, weariness with a topic or activity.

Tried (pronounced “tr-eyed”; rhymes with fried, tied, lied, sighed) has multiple meanings.

  • As the past tense of the verb “try,” it means something that was attempted in the past.
  • In law, as the past tense of the verb “try,” it means to be taken to court for the crimes of which a person has been accused. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “tried as an adult” in courtroom settings involving an accused person under 18.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Tyrone tried to get to class on time, but he was just too hungry and tired to make it. He decided to go home instead.