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Easily Confused Words: Lays vs. Laze

Lays and laze 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.

Lays (pronounced “lays”; rhymes with pays, ways, bays, days) is a he/she/it form of the verb “lay,” which typically means to set something down on a surface, or put something in place. More definitions appear below the example sentences.

For example:

  • After school, Louis lays his book bag on the floor, collapses into a bean bag. He turns on the TV to play video games for the next two hours.
  • Leslie’s hands are full of groceries and household items. She lays down her keys, and puts everything away for the next ten minutes. Then she looks for where her keys went and asks everyone where they are. 

Lay can also mean:

  • To knock someone down in boxing or a fistfight.
  • To present a case before supervisors or authority for review.
  • To accuse or assign blame to someone else.
  • To install materials in or on ground: place bricks for a wall, install pipelines, pour concrete or other paving material, install flooring
  • To formally bury a body at a gravesite.
  • To start a project, make rules, or set an organization up.

Sometimes people get confused about “lie” and “lay.” Typically a person lies themselves down for a nap, they lay down other people (i.e., baby, puppy needing a nap) and things.

Laze (pronounced “layz”; rhymes with faze, maze) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, in geology, it refers to the acidic foggy rain that lingers in the air following a volcanic eruption. This year, 2018, its been in the news due to Kilauea’s eruption in the US state of Hawaii. In April 2010, Iceland had an eruption of Eyjafjallajökull that disrupted air travel for some time.
  • As a verb, it means to lounge around, to behave in a sloth-like, unmotivated way.

The following story uses both words correctly:

 Lana has planned to get a suntan at a beach house near Hilo this summer, but she hadn’t anticipated a volcanic eruption. She found some friends who lived on Kauai and went kayaking instead. Not only did she get sunshine, she strengthened her core and got a change of scene.

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Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Grift vs. Gift

Grift and gift 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.

Grift (pronounced “gr-ih-ft”) is a verb. It means to steal from someone through trickery or fraud.

Gift (pronounced “gih-fft”;  rhymes with rift, lift, miffed) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means something given in appreciation or for a special occasion.
  • As a verb, it means to give a gift.
    • The past tense, gifted, indicates a gift was given in the past.
    • However, keep in mind “gifted” can also be an adjective, meaning someone has exceptional intelligence or talents. Context in a sentence indicates whether the word is an adjective or verb.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Geoffrey really appreciated the invitation to lunch with Geraldine and Guinnevere. She picked up the check. He thought this relationship might be going places or lead to business contacts. Later though he got a social media request to pay back his portion for dinner. Suddenly he felt grifted. When he saw Guinnevere, she too mentioned that she got a request to pay a third for dinner and it seemed odd. Why not just ask to split the check three ways up front?

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: GIF vs. Gift.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Consternation vs. Carnation

Consternation and carnation 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.

Consternation (pronounced “kahn-stuhr-nay-shun”) is a state of simultaneous surprise and upset.

Carnation (pronounced “karr-nay-shun”) has multiple meanings.

As a noun, it is a species of flowering plant. Carnations are known for their faded blue-green knobby stems, and flowers that are a thick cluster of petals with frayed edges.

A red carnation is the national flower of Spain.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Carmelo was in a state of total consternation. The wedding was in just a few hours, and many vendors had not delivered as promised. Where was the cake? Where were the bunches of carnations and orchids needed to decorate the lake house? 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Seeded vs. Seated

Seeded and seated 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.

Seeded (“see-duhd”; rhymes with beaded, needed, deeded) has multiple meanings.

  • As the past tense of the verb “seed,” with plants, it indicates one plant dispersed its seeds far and wide. In a matter of weeks, plants, or seedlings, are rising in those places. “I removed that portulaca plant two years ago, but it seeded itself all over the lawn and its descendants come back year after year.”
  • As the past tense of the verb seed, in business, it means someone provided funding in the past to get a business started.
  • As the past tense of the verb “seed,” in farming and gardening, it means to intentionally plant seeds in the dirt.
  • As the past tense of the verb “seed” with animal or fish farming, it means to populate a property or body of water with creatures.
  • As the past tense of the verb “seed,” it means to disperse a grainy substance over land. When snow and ice is forecasted, bridges and highways are seeded with salt, sand, or a briny mix to prevent freezing and slippery roads.
  • In tennis, it means a ranking for play in a tournament. There was recent outrage that Serena Williams, the most accomplished woman in tennis today, was seeded low for the 2018 French Open. She was on a brief hiatus for her first pregnancy and recovering from a pulmonary embolism.

Seated (“see-tuhd”; rhymes with pleated) has multiple meanings.

  • As the past tense of the verb “seat,” it means to be assigned a seat on a plane, train. “I asked to be seated in business class, but they stuck me in coach.”
  • As the past tense of the verb “seat,” it means to be escorted to one’s chair in a theater.

The following story uses both words correctly:

This morning, Seeley seeded her yard with flower and plant seeds instead of grass. After two hours work, she seated herself on a rocking chair on the porch and enjoyed an ice cold glass of tea.

Yesterday she had torn all the sod out. She was taking a more native species approach to her yard in an effort to be more eco-friendly.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Drupe vs. Dupe

Drupe and dupe 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.

Drupe (pronounced “droop”; rhymes with loop, coop) is a botany word. It classifies fruits known for having a single, woody-shelled seed in the center. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, mangoes, cherries, and olives are all drupes.

Dupe (pronounced doo-p; rhymes with loop, soup, coop) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to fool or mislead someone.
  • As a noun, it can mean the person getting fooled or misled.
  • As a noun, it can be a slang shortened form of “duplicate ” (pronounced “doop-lih-kuht”), as in a copy, imitator, or similar product.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Doozer (nicknamed for his surname Duesenberg) was bored with his job at the supermarket. One of his favorite activities was pranking and frustrating the new employees. Once he duped a new teenage staffer, Dyuthi, into stocking and labeling the fruits–berries, drupes, aggregates, etc. different ways. Each time Dyuthi finished, he told her management had changed their mind and it had to be done all over again.

When the manager asked how she was liking her job, she asked, “I like it here. But why do they keep changing the fruit display?”

“What?! Doozer meet me in Produce…Now.”

 This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Drupal vs. Drupe, Easily Confused Words: Droop vs. Dupe

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Ought To vs. Auto

Ought To and Auto are easily confused terms.

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.

Ought To (pronounced “awwt (pause) too”) is an auxiliary verb. It doesn’t indicate action, but expectation of action, or hypothetical action. This auxiliary verb tends to precede, or go before, the verb. See below:

  • He ought to put his dish in the sink after eating. 
  • You ought to wipe your feet before entering a house.
  • Eligible voters ought to register to vote months before the next election. 
  • In my view, lawn services ought to collect grass clippings they create. All that debris is clogging our town’s drains.

Should, Would, Could are other examples of auxiliary verbs, but I’ll save those for other posts.

Auto (pronounced “aw-toe”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it is a shortened form of automobile, another way to say car.
  • As an adjective, it is a shortened form of “automatic.” For example, this is how it appears in classified car sale ads, on appliances, and on electrical consoles in lieu of the whole word. It’s usually due to space limitations or simple convenience.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Audley sauntered into the restaurant 30 minutes late. “Hey, I am glad I made it. Where’s the guest of honor?”

The hostess, Ouzier, replied,”Sir, you ought to move your auto if you don’t want it towed.”

“Here, move it yourself, ” he said, handing her the keys. “I expected a place this nice to have a valet.”

Ouzier held up her hand and refused the offer. “We are plenty nice, but we have no valet. You are responsible for your own car.” He hurriedly walked out and the door shut loudly behind him.

Anna walked up from the back of the restaurant. “Have you seen my boyfriend yet?” 

“Does he drive a Mercedes?”

“Yes.”

“He’ll be right back.” Ouzier felt bad for the girl. 

“Ok, thanks.” 

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Otto vs. Auto.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Adjunct vs. Adjudicate

Adjunct and adjudicate 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.

Adjunct (pronounced “add-JUHNkt”; rhymes with defunct) is an adjective. It describes something supplementary, non-essential. In academia (colleges/universities), it is used to describe non-permanent professorships.

Adjudicate (pronounced “add-JYOO-dih-kayt”) is a verb. It’s a law and judicial word.  It means resolving situations in a courtroom setting with judge and sometimes a jury. It can also mean to establish a rule based on judicial decision. For example, every June in the US, the Supreme Court typically adjudicates major decisions on cases they’ve heard over the previous fall through spring period, October-April. In the summer of 2015, their decision made gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Adagio had a difficult case to adjudicate. An adjunct professor was alleging unfair working conditions. He was expected to teach 7 classes that met 2-3 times a week. His time outside of class involved grading an avalanche of papers, or planning the next day’s material. His wages were 1/2 what a tenured professor’s would be. The professor had complained to college leaders, but it fell on indifferent ears.