Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Hell vs. He’ll

Hell and he’ll 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.

Hell (pronounced “h-ell”; rhymes with bell, well, tell, sell)

  • As a proper noun, it means an underworld for the souls of evil people in Judeo-Christian religions.
  • As a noun, it means a place of torture, punishment, or total discomfort.
  • As an interjection, it indicates surprise, the state of being dumbfounded or skeptical. For example, “Hell, anyone could have done that.”
  • As a proper noun, it can mean cities in Michigan, Texas, and California.

He’ll (pronounced “heel”; rhymes with wheel, feel, teal, peal) is a contraction of the pronoun “he and one of two possible auxiliary verbs: shall or will.

Here are some examples:

  • He’ll need to work harder to pull his grades up this semester. He will need to work harder to pull his grades up this semester.
  • He’ll abide by the rules of the club. He shall abide by the rules of the club.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Heloise was annoyed that her executive assistant, Hector, was running late for the third time this week. “Is he really not here again? He must not need the work. That’s not what he said in the interview.”

She looked out the window with annoyance, stewing, but saying nothing further. Then she just shrugged.

“He’ll probably waltz in here in the next half hour with some elaborate excuse. There will be hell to pay when he gets here, ” she told the staff as she hastily walked back to her office and loudly shut the door.

The staff weren’t phased by her threat. They weren’t sure why he was being given multiple chances to do better when they would have been fired the first time around.

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Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Donning vs. Dawning

Donning and dawning 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.

Donning (pronounced “don-ihng”) is the gerund form of the verb “don.” To don is to wear, or to put a piece of clothing on. Often it’s a special piece of clothing for an important event.

Dawning (pronounced “dawn-ihng”; rhymes with fawning, pawning, awning) is a noun, it means daybreak, or the beginning of a new day. In a figurative sense, it can also mean the beginning of a project, a business, or something else.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Donaghue was donning his pastor’s collar and vestments as a new day was dawning. Today was a royal wedding. So many preparations had been made. The country’s people were very excited. A real life fairy tale happening in their lifetime, and the anticipation of new princes and princesses to arrive in the coming years. Nothing was going to get in the way of this event, not even rumors that the prince loved someone else that his father, the King, didn’t approve of. 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Autopsy vs. Biopsy

Autopsy and biopsy 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.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Autopsy (pronounced “aw-tawp-see”) is a noun. It means the surgical procedure performed on a deceased person to determine cause of death. Wounds sustained by the body, vital organs all contain clues about cause of death.

If you’ve watched US TV series CSI, NCIS, or similar crime shows about the “behind the scenes” people who help solve crimes, you’re seen a fictional accounts of how an autopsies work.

Biopsy (pronounced “by-awp-see”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means to take a sample of a tumor or other growth to test it for cancer. If a lump shows up in a mammogram (breast scan), for example, the next step is taking a sample of the lump to see if it’s benign or malignant. Benign means its a growth but not problematic. Malignant means its a bad growth and needs to be removed before it spreads further. Since the breasts are close to the vital organs, timing when catching potential cancer is really important.
  • As a verb, it means to perform a biopsy for extraction of tissue.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Aurelia was texting her mother. “They found a lump; I need an autopsy.”

Her mom, a stickler for details, replied, “I think you mean biopsy? You don’t get to pick a date for an autopsy, dear…” 

“Damn autocorrect! Yes, BIOPSY.” she typed back.

 

 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Capricious vs. Capri

Capricious and Capri 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.

Capricious (pronounced US: “kuh-pree-shuss” UK: “kuh-prish-uss”) is an adjective. It describes someone who is flighty, prone to unpredictable behavior, or fleeting interests. For example, cats’ capricious behavior has made them a favorite subject for funny internet videos and GIFs in the 2000s and beyond.

Capri (pronounced “ka-pree”, “kuh-pree”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a proper noun, it is an island in Italy off the coast of Naples.
  • As a fashion term, it is the term for pants that only cover 3/4 of the leg; the hem stops at mid-calf or mid-shin. The pants are intended for summer wear, and are named for the city in Italy.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Actress Caprina Colson was filming a movie on Capri. Every day between shoots, she wore day-glo green capri pants. She ran her errands on an aqua-colored Vespa. Day to day, it seemed she went about her tasks in a capricious manner, with sightings reported all over town. In a matter of two weeks, all the natives knew who she was.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Shell vs. She’ll

Shell and she’ll are easily confused words. One is a contraction that joins two words together with an apostrophe, the other is a singular word.

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.

Shell (“sh-elle”; rhymes with bell, well, fell) has multiple meanings.

As a noun:

  • In nature, it can mean the bones of ocean creatures one finds on the beach. These are the remains of sand dollars, whelks, snails, clams, oysters, and crustaceans. A popular tongue-twister is “she sells seashells by the seashore.”
  • In nature, it can mean the “housing” of living snails, turtles, some crabs. Sometimes the shell contains their bodies temporarily, sometimes the shell is shed and regrown, and other times, or it’s part of their bodies and grows with them.

As a proper noun:

  • It’s the name of a petroleum company from the Netherlands.

As an adjective:

  • “Shell of a man/woman”: in this phrase it describes someone who is keeping up appearances and meeting responsibilities, but emotionally he/she doesn’t feel happy, confident, or purpose-driven as he/she once did. A bad breakup or a job loss are examples of what could cause these feelings.
  • “Shell company” In business and taxation, it describes a business entity that really doesn’t do or produce anything, it’s a mechanism for funneling money to appear more legit to tax authorities.
  • “Shell game” aka “Cup and ball game” A game run by a street vendor where gullible people often lose money by incorrectly guessing which shell hides a token/button/bauble after the shells places have been scrambled around. The game can also be a distraction while the vendor’s partner picks the players pockets. Clicking the link provides more information on this very old game.

She’ll (“sheel”; rhymes with wheel, feel, peal) is a contraction of “she shall” or “she will.” Both indicate a female’s intent to do something. Maybe something in the near future, or maybe it’s an obligation that must be met as part of an elected office or appointment.

The following story uses both words correctly:

After judging the sand castle contest, she’ll collect shells with her children on the shoreline and photograph sea birds. Annabelle loved her life on Sanibel Island. 

 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Fiddle-Faddle vs. Fiddlehead

Fiddle-faddle and fiddlehead 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.

Fiddle-faddle (pronounced “fih-dull-fad-uhl”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it is another name for caramel corn, snack made from popped corn slathered with hot, runny caramel and allowed to cool before eating. Sometimes nuts and/or chocolate chips are also included.
  • As an interjection, it means “nonsense.” “Fiddlesticks” and Pish-posh” is similarly used.

Fiddlehead (pronounced “fih-dull-hed”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means the ornate carved wood (scroll or swirl) knob at the top of the neck of violins, fiddles, violas, cellos, and standup basses.
  • As a noun, in botany, it refers to the curled new shoots growing on a fern plant. These can be trimmed off, cooked, and eaten like a vegetable.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Fidéle was munching on fiddle-faddle while the luthier fixed and tuned his instrument. The fiddlehead on his violin had broken off when he was knocked off his unicycle. Thankfully, he only had suffered cuts and scrapes. 

 

Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Slider vs. Cider

Slider and Cider 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.

Slider (pronounced “sl-eye-duhrr”; rhymes with glider) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it can mean a small hamburger sandwich. It is typically served as an appetizer, as a plate of four or five burgers.

Cider (pronounced “s-eye-duhrr”; rhymes with rider) is a noun.

  • It can mean the pulpy juice extracted from smashed apples and pears.
  • It can mean the fermented version of this pulpy juice which is served as an alcoholic beverage.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Sligo went out to dinner with friends. He ordered a sampler plate of sliders–elk, beef, pork, and turkey–and a glass of pear cider.