Easily Confused Words: Bison vs. Basin

Bison and basin 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.

Bison (pronounced “buy-suhn”) is a noun. It means the large, brown furry herbivores that are native to North America.

Basin (pronounced US:”bay-suhn”; Australia: “buy-suhn”) is a noun.

  • It means a large bowl or barrel container for washing things, or storing goods.
  • In topography, it’s an enclosed landform where the land dips to a great depth than the surrounding land. Some basins are in waterways, others are not.
  • It can also mean a manmade area in land for storing industrial wastewater or other materials. For environmental reasons, it is important basins and ponds containing waste are lined so they do not seep into the soil, wells, or local drinking water sources.

The following uses both words correctly:

Beatrice couldn’t believe her luck. She was doing a photo essay on the West. Today she stumbled on a herd of bison swimming across the Grande Condor Basin. She had only read about them in books, seeing them in person was an epic experience.

 

 

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Easily Confused Words: Later vs. Latter

Later and latter 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.

Later (pronounced “lay-tuhr”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a preposition. It indicates an unspecific time in the near future.
  • In US 1990s slang, it was short for “see you later.”

Latter (pronounced “l-at-uhr”) is an adjective. When someone offers you two choices, the first one can be referred to as “the former,” and the second one is “the latter.” In a list of more than two choices, the last one can also qualify as “the latter.”

The following story uses both words correctly:

Laurent was thinking about how to spend Friday night. He was standing in the parking lot with his high school friends and their cars. Larry suggested racing their cars. Greg suggested staying right there and getting pretty wasted. Steve suggested checking out a party he heard about. ” I think I’ll go with the latter,” said Laurent, “Larry, watch yourself. Don’t either of you get yourself arrested. Maybe we’ll see you at the party later?”

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Ladder vs. Latter

Easily Confused Words: Redeye vs. Ribeye

Redeye and ribeye 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.

Redeye (pronounced as it looks: “red + eye”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an adjective, it describes an airline flight taken in the middle of the night or early morning. It is can also spelled with a hyphen.
  • As an noun, it is a Southern US style of gravy made from pan drippings and coffee.
  • As a noun, it can refer to species of fish with red eyes.
  • As a noun, it can refer to cheap whiskey.
  • As a noun, it can refer to the state of having bloodshot eyes. This can result for drinking too much, sleeping too little, or a combination of the two.
  • As a noun, it’s a beer and tomato juice cocktail in Canada.

Ribeye (pronounced as it looks: “rihb-eye”) is a noun. It is a cut of beef from the outer side of the animal’s ribs.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Reeban was eager to try lots of delicacies on his recent trip to visit his cousins. For something different, they tried a regional diner. He first dinner on the trip was a ribeye with three sides: mashed potatoes covered in redeye gravy, fried okra, and cornbread. He also enjoyed two glasses of sweet tea and peach cobbler for dessert.

 

 

Easily Confused Words: Bubble vs. Babble

Bubble and babble 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.

Bubble (pronounced “buh-buhl”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means a round suspension of liquid with air trapped inside; bubbles don’t last very long, their surface water quickly evaporates and pops.
  • As a verb, it means a liquid indicating it’s close to boiling point.
  • As a noun, in economics, it can mean a situation of inflated speculation, like US real estate in the 2000s.
  • In the idiom “on the bubble,” someone is in a risky, tenuous situation.

Babble (pronounced “ba-buhl”) is a verb.

  • It means to chatter, or talk a lot in an unfocused fashion.
  • It means to move along persistently and energetically, i.e., a babbling brook waterway.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Babochka couldn’t stop babbling about her first day at school. Her older sister Bella said, “Here’s a bottle of bubble mix and a wand. Go walk around the backyard until Mom comes home. I can’t listen to you anymore.”

 

Easily Confused Words: Blanch vs. Branch

Blanch and branch 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.

Blanch (pronounced “blan-chuh”; sounds similar to flange) has multiple meanings.

As a verb:

  • It means a brief immersing a food in boiling water. For example, slivers of potatoes are boiled to remove starch; next they are fried. Tomatoes are slitted at the bottom, then plunged into boiling water for a few minutes, then immersed in ice cold water. The vegetable can’t take the rapid change in temperature, and their very thin skin is suddenly easy to peel. This same technique is used to skin almonds and peaches. It’s also used to cook dried pasta.
  • In horticulture, it can mean to deny light, resulting in a white plant. Have you ever seen white asparagus?
  • In metallurgy, it can mean to whiten a metal by using acids.
  • It can be another way to say bleaching items by leaving them in sunlight.
  • It can mean to lose color, like in one’s face when feeling ill or terrified.

As an adjective:

  • it describes items that have received the blanching treatment: either bleached by sunlight, cooked by very hot water than a cold bath, or grown without sunlight.
  • it describes items that have lost their color and become pale.

Branch (pronounced “b-ranch”; rhymes with ranch) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means the “arms” of a tree which grow leaves and other branches.
  • As a verb, it means to grow out and away, to derive from an origin point or thing.
  • As a noun, in a figurative sense, its the secondary and latter divisions of a business that evolve in other locations.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Branson was an aspiring chef. He was growing tired of chopping vegetables and blanching potatoes. He had so many ideas for entrees, and he was eager to branch out and do his own thing. For the foreseeable future, he was stuck playing the protege. To be brutally honest, that sucked big time. This isn’t what he dreamed of doing in cooking school. 

Easily Confused Words: Splay vs. Spray

Splay and spray 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.

Splay (pronounced “spleh”; rhymes with slay, clay) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means slanting, cut at an angle, or turned out.
  • As a verb, it means lying on one’s back with arms and legs extended. It can also mean a four-legged creature lying this way.
  • As a verb, it describes something slanted, or turned out.

Spray (pronounced “spreh”; rhymes with slay, pray, fray) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to wet with water or other liquid, usually from a gun-shaped mechanism that forces the liquid in a specific direction, like a yard hose, fire house, or a pump bottle with a pressable button top, etc.
  • As a noun, it means one burst of liquid from a spraying mechanism. For example, a spray of perfume or cologne, a spray of hair product.
  • As a noun, it means a stem of multiple flowers, like carnations, that grow that way. It can also mean a stem of artificial flowers meant for bouquets and arrangements.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Spysinna was picking which sprays would really work for her clients wedding on the beach. Ultimately she went with dahlias and gardenias. She splayed the ends of each stem at varying lengths. This created visual interest than all of the blooms appearing the same height. Next would be the LCD lighting details for the wedding archway, the aisle, and the reception tent.

Easily Confused Words: Viable vs. Visible

Viable and visible 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.

Viable (pronounced “v-eye-uh-bull”) is an adjective. It describes something alive or capable of survival. This can apply to a real living thing: plant, animal, human, etc. In a more figurative sense, it can describe an idea’s sustainability, or a potential’s product survival in the marketplace.

Visible (pronounced “v-ihz-uh-bull”) is an adjective. It describes something in line of sight or in view.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Vivianne was a venture capitalist. She wasn’t the most visible or glamorous person, unlike some tech celebrities. However, she had incredible instincts for determining which startups had the most viable ideas that had tremendous potential for growth. Not just survive the marketplace, but come to dominate their chosen field and become household names.