Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Wanton vs. Wonton

Wanton and wonton 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.

Wanton (pronounced “wahn-tuhn”) is an adjective. It describes behavior that follows negative or baser instincts, like rage, lust, envy, or revenge. It can also describe behavior that demonstrates lack of self-control, malice, or unprovoked violence.

Wonton (pronounced “wawn-tawn”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means a Chinese food item. They are a noodle-like wrapper enfolding diced pork, vegetables, and spices. They can be served in soup, or pan fried and served with dipping sauce.
  • As an adjective, it describes ingredients including wontons, or used to make wonton dishes. For example, wonton wrappers are made from wheat flour, water, egg, and salt. Wonton soup is a soup with wontons floating in it.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Wonita stumbled into cooking class late for the fifth time in two weeks. The instructor had had enough and repimanded her in front of the class:

“Wonita, you’ll never learn to master Chinese cookery, like making wontons, if you don’t abandon your wanton ways. You have to get up early to be a chef. There’s too much work too do to arrive late. You can’t party hard into the wee hours and stumble into work the next day.”

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Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Strode vs. Strobe

Strode vs. strobe 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.

Strode (pronounced “stroh-d”) is the past tense of the verb “stride.” Stride means someone walking assertively. So strode indicates someone was walking assertively in the past.

Strobe (pronounced “stroh-b”) is a noun.

  • It can be short for stroboscope, a device for studying motion of bodies or machinery by flickering light at different speeds. Per this physics video, stroboscopes were used to study motors working in the 1930s.
  • It can mean a strobe light. Strobe lights (somewhat like a camera’s flash) flicker in high intensity burst or bursts.
    • By shooting a photo at a high shutter speed while a strobe bursts light, the photographer can freeze action.
    • If the photographer is taking a series of shots with a strobe, the shots will have a stop-motion or flipbook type effect of the subject’s movements. One challenge of strobe lights in photography is the photographer has to take the shot to see how it turned out. This is a different experience than Instagram (in the moment, using ambient light, and no flash), or staged continuous light shots. Both of these are WYSIWIG, or “what you see is what you get.” What you see in the viewfinder or onscreen is identical to the shot you will get. Check out this video to learn more,  and another one here.
    • In another video, the backstory behind a Gatorade ad that used stroboscopic photography.
  • It can mean a lamp used in dance arenas or at concerts to enhance the entertainment experience or performance.

The following story uses both words correctly:

The students strode begrudgingly back to class from lunch period.

Just thirty minutes back in the classroom, they weren’t responding to the lecture. They were yawning, some had their heads down. So Mr. Stroman told everyone to get up and start pushing the desks and chairs to the side walls. Then he turned down the lights and hit play on a trendy dance song, and told the kids to jump around and dance. Then he turned on a strobe light and did the robot from the 1980s. The kids started laughing at this odd dance. After two more songs they were tired.

Mr. Stroman said, “Okay, now that everyone’s awake, let’s get our desks back in place, and talk about the lesson again.” He had a remarkable way of reading the room and getting kids engaged.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Bandeau vs. Bandana

Bandeau and bandana 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.

Bandeau (pronounced “ban-doe”) is a noun. Literally it means a narrow headband worn on the forehead, or a narrow brassiere.

It can also refer to a strapless, breast-covering top that is part of a two-piece swimsuit. Other bandeaus can be worn with shorts, miniskirts, and pants. Tube tops are similar, but traditionally they covered more of the stomach or abdominal area of the torso than a bandeau, or they feature a neck strap.

Depending on the clothing company, the terms bandeau and tube top are often used interchangeably in the 21st century. Prior to microfiber clothing, bandeaus and tube tops had to have silicone gel, elastic, or other means sewn into them so to could stay in place.

Bandana (pronounced “ban-dan-uh”) is a noun.

  • It can mean a red or blue handkerchief with a white and black pattern on it.
  • It can also mean a folded scarf or handerkerchief worn as a headcovering. It’s knotted in the back to keep in it place. Bandanas catch head sweat and keep hair out of one’s face.
    • Famous bandana wearers include Willie Nelson, Little Stevie, Axl Rose, Brett Michaels

The following story uses both words correctly:

Bannerjee had only one photo of her biological mother, Barbara. It’s a group photo posed in front of a VW bus. Her mother is wearing a bandana on her head, torn bell bottom jeans, a paisley print bandeau top. She’s flashing the peace sign and beaming. She’s surrounded by friends, they had just finished a civil service project. ” June 1969″ is scrawled on the back.

If it wasn’t too late, Bannerjee, now 15, wanted to find one of these friends. She wanted to learn all she could about who Barbara was before she died in a car accident just 5 years later.

 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Immolate vs. Emulate

Immolate and emulate 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.

Immolate (pronounced “ihm-oh-layt”) is a verb. It means to set on fire, to make a sacrifice, to set fire to something. It can be used figuratively for actions that don’t involve fire, but have similar destructive results to one’s life, career, etc.

Emulate (pronounced “em-yoo-layt”) is a verb. It means to imitate, to follow someone else’s example in performing a task.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Esme wanted her brilliant music students to realize they could produce top-notch work without immolating themselves, without getting hooked on self-destructive substances and habits. They needed to be very careful about whom they chose to emulate. 

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Pneumatic vs. Mnemonic

Pneumatic and mnemonic 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.

Pneumatic (pronounced “new-mat-ihck”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an adjective, it describes things related to air, gasses, or wind.
    • One example is screen doors, which often use a pneumatic system for better control of the doors opening and closing movements. The air is compressed as the door opens, and it decompresses to make the door shut itself.
    • There are also pneumatic tools that operate using air.
  • As a noun, it can mean a type of tire, or a type of vehicle that uses those type tires. Construction or moving equipment, forklifts, hand trucks (dollys), and wheelchairs use solid pneumatic tires. These cannot be punctured and go flat, and they can handle irregular or uneven surfaces better than air-filled tires do.

Mnemonic (pronounced “nih-maw-nihck”) is an adjective. It describes things relating to memory. It is named after the Greek goddess of memory, Mnemosyne.

For example, a mnemonic device is a saying, rhyme, abbreviation, or other catchy tool a person uses to remember something.

  • For the musical scale, E-G-B-D-F, some remember it as, “Every Good Boy Does Fine” or “Every Good Bird Does Fly”
  • Virginia Apgar was a pioneer in infant health. When she started in the 1930s, 100 out of 1000 infants died after birth. Her observations indicated that monitoring the baby in a list of requirements would improve the survival rate. Starting in 1963, her last name’s letters was used as a mnemonic device to remember the signs to look for in a baby post-birth: “Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration.” This abbreviation covers these questions:
    • Appearance: Does the child have healthy color, or is it blue or grey? (Blue or grey would indicate circulation problems.)
    • Pulse: Does the child have a regular heartbeat and pulse?
    • Grimace: Does the child indicate alertness and response to stimuli?
    • Activity: Does the child move, indicating its limbs are working and responding to its brain’s messages? does it demonstrate flexion? Does it have muscle tone?
    • Respiration: Does the child breathe without problems?

The following link is a nursing video about the APGAR score.

 

The following story uses both words correctly:

Knowles used a mnemonic device “why Ralph got hardware” to remember a list of pneumatic tools he wanted to get for the shop: wrench (impact), ratchet (air), grinder (straight die), and hammer (air.)

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Throws vs. Throes

Throws and throes 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.

Throws (pronounced “th-rohz”) is the he/she/it form of the verb “throw.” Literally, it is to use one or both hands to launch an object into the air.

  • In a more figurative sense, it means to make a celebratory event happen, or to have an emotional outburst.
    • Tom throws the best end of summer bashes at the beach.
    • Terry throws a fit when his older siblings take things from his hands.

Throes (pronounced “th-rohz”) is the plural form of the noun “throe.” This word is used more in the UK, English literature, and in poems and songs.

  • It literally means pains, pangs, or other intense discomfort associated with a condition, like pregnancy, or an illness.
  • In a more figurative sense, it means intense feelings: throes of misery, passion, madness, etc.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Thaddie was practicing her throws for softball. To her coach, it was obvious her star pitcher’s head was not at practice. It hadn’t been for weeks. The girl had learned her father would not return from serving overseas, and she was in the throes of depression.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Throne vs. Thrown

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Sundry vs. Sunday

Sundry and Sunday 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.

Sundry (“suhn-dree”) is an adjective. It describes variety or diversity in something.

A related noun, sundries, means an odd assortment of things that don’t cost a lot of money.

Sunday (pronounced “suhn-day”/ some US dialects: “suhn-dee”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a proper noun, it indicates the first day of the week. For Christians it is a religious day.
  • As an adjective, it describes things happening on Sunday. For example:
    • a restaurant’s Sunday brunch hours are 11-4.
    • a church’s Sunday services are at 8am, 11am, and there’s a Spanish language service at 6pm.
    • Wear your Sunday best to the gala

The following story uses both words correctly:

Sunniva went shopping at the vintage and thrift store on a Sunday afternoon. She browsed the sundry racks of clothes, hoping to find a nearly-new sundress.