Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Calendar vs. Colander

Calendar and colander 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.

Calendar (pronounced “kal-ihn-durr”; UK: “kal-ihn-dah”) is a noun.

  • It can mean a book of the 12 months laid out on a grid. It is printed on paper. Calendars have been used for tracking appointments, sporting events, birthdays, anniversaries. If the user looks at them or flips through them, he/she is reminded of upcoming holidays or deadlines, and avoids scheduling themselves for conflicting obligations.
  • Computer software and operating includes a calendar app for doing the same day and time tracking that printed calendars fulfill, but on a screen. The added bonus of is that a computer app reminds the user of what’s coming up if he/she wishes instead of the user stopping his/her actions to review his/her schedule.

Colander (pronounced “kawl-ihn-duhrr”; rhymes with surname Hollander) is a noun. It is a cooking and kitchen term. A colander is a bowl with evenly spaced holes in it. It is a separating tool used to drain pasta, and wash fruit and vegetables. It is placed in the sink and a pot is poured into it. The desired contents remain in the colander while the water drains away. For people who wish to keep their cooking water, a larger bowl can simply be placed beneath the colander to catch that liquid.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Colson’s countertops were cluttered with work papers. He was trying to use his kitchen as a home office. This plan was working brilliantly until he was making dinner one night when he was making spaghetti. The colander for catching the noodles slipped, and water went everywhere. A lot of his papers got wet, including his appointment calendar. All those entries, handwritten in fountain pen no less, oozed into a black drippy mess that fell onto ruined dinner in nasty sink.

“ARRRGH!” He dropped all the cookware in the sink in defeat.

He turned to his cat, Samson, sitting calmly on another counter, silently witnessing the whole spectacle.

“That’s it, Samson, I have to get a real workstation and put in the living room. I have to try to remember who all these appointments were with. Maybe get ballpoint pens. But first, let’s order takeout. Does Chinese sound good?”

Samson mewed approvingly.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Calendar vs. Calendula


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