Carmel and caramel 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.
Carmel (pronounced “karr-MELL”) is the name of two geographic locations.
- In the US, it is Carmel by the Sea, a town in middle coast of the state of California. It is south of San Francisco and San Jose, but north of Big Sur. Check out a website here.
- In the Middle East, it is a mountain range in Israel near the Mediterranean Sea.
Caramel (pronounced “care-uh-mell”/”karr-muhl”) is a noun with multiple meanings.
- It is a sweet, sticky liquid made from heated sugar. It is a honey brown color. It is used to top ice cream sundaes, decorate cookies, cakes, and other sweets. It is also used on popped corn to create “caramelcorn.”
- It can also be poured into a mold and allowed to firm up. It is then cut into squares and eaten like fudge or taffy.
- It can mean the color of caramel, a golden brown, in other, non-edible objects, like clothing, hair color products, furniture, shoes, plants, or land.
- NOTE: Check out regional pronunciation differences in the US here. Caramel is the second word covered on this page.
The following story uses both words correctly:
Carmelita was vacationing in Carmel by the Sea as part of a road trip down Highway 1. After spending a couple days at the beach trying out kitesurfing, she noticed more caramel highlights in her hair and a sense of refreshment from being outdoors.
In addition to new experiences, her other goal was to try as many American foods as possible. Burgers, fried cupcakes, pork barbecue, brisket barbeque, Philly cheesesteak, and frozen cheesecake on a stick were all on the list.