Easily Confused Words: Scrapped vs. Scraped

Scrapped and scraped 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.

Scrapped (pronounced “skRAPd”; rhymes with capped, mapped, slapped) is the past tense of the verb “scrap.” It means to discard something that isn’t useful, or to cease work on a project that isn’t going anywhere. So “scrapped” indicates something that was discarded, or given up on, in the past.

Scraped (pronounced “skRAYpd”; rhymes with taped, caped) is the past tense of the verb “scrape.”

  • To scrape can means to scuff, abrasively cut, or roughen the surface of something. So “scraped” indicates this scuffing or roughing happened in the past. For example: When I was little I  frequently scraped my knees.
  • It can also mean to scrounge for money or resources (in the past), as in the sentence “I scraped together enough money to attend the concert.”

The following story uses both words correctly:

Scannal scrapped the trip he’d made for himself and his fiancée. She broke off the engagement. He had worked and scraped together all that money for years. Now those plans were gone overnight, and he really didn’t know what to do next. His sister, Scirocco, suggested going on a trip alone.

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