Easily Confused Words: Resin vs. Resonate

Resin and resonate 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.

Resin (pronounced “rez-ihn”) is a noun. It means a product derived from tree sap used in making plastics and preservative finishes. It’s also a way to indicate insects or other creatures that were trapped in amber thousands of years ago.

Resonate (pronounced “rez-uh-nayt”) is a verb. Literally it means to “sound again,” it’s making one or more duplications of a sound.  Figuratively, it means to have an effect or impact on one or more persons through speech, art, or other creative work.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Reston was at a fossil and artifact collector’s convention. He was hoping to add some resin pieces to his collection. Unfortunately, none of the ones he saw at the event really resonated with him as a “must-have” piece.

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Easily Confused Words: Cable vs. Cabal

Cable and cabal 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.

Cable (pronounced “kay-buhl”; rhymes with stable, fable, label) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it can mean a telegraph or telegraph technology. This was a means of communicating quickly in the 1800s before telephones were invented.
  • As a noun, in television, it means a paid set of channels consumers can buy that have been prevalent in US households since the 1970s. To access the channels, a consumer buys a plan with a cable company. Once the access is turned on, a coaxial cable with an F connector is physically screws into a specialized outlet in the wall and connected to the back of the television.
  • As a noun, in architecture, a cable stayed bridge has pylons with a series of often parallel cables connecting down to the bridge deck. This has become a popular style of bridge in the US since the 1990s to replace older style bridges that are in dire need of replacement. Read more about that here.
  • As a noun, in fashion, a cable-knit sweater has a braided rope look for decoration on its top layer.
  • As a noun, it’s another way of saying wire, cord, or rope.

Cabal (pronounced “kuh-ball”) is a noun. It means a secretive group exerting control over a government, a company, or an industry. Cabals operate to control lots of money, power, or both.

It can also mean the plans made by such a group.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Secretary of State Kaybellia Jones received a suspicious cable from the President of Labakia. It affirmed her suspicions that the actual President was not able to communicate on his own. He was being held hostage, and the country was being run by an ultra-religious cabal. She asked to meet with her own President as soon as possible to discuss the issue. Labakia was a vital trade partner, providing lots of raw materials for tech industry components. It would rock the whole industry if that supply line were disrupted or cut off. 

Easily Confused Words: Fixative vs. Fixate

Fixative and fixate 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.

Fixative (pronounced “fihx-uh-tihv”) has multiple meanings.

  • As an adjective, it describes something that preserves, something that makes something permanent.
  • As a noun, it means something that creates fixation or permanence. For example, a preservative spray applied to charcoal, pastel, or other drawings so they aren’t smeared by touching.

Fixate (pronounced “fihx-ate”) is a verb.

  • It can mean to put something in a fixed, stationary, or still position.
  • It can also mean to focus one’s attention or gaze on one person, activity, or thing.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Fenyx was asked to fixate on lessons in hair cutting and styling from his mentor, Pax. He was far too distracted by all the sprays, fixatives, gels, waxes, and other chemicals used to do hair and nails. This was going to be more complicated than he thought. 

Easily Confused Words: Ergo vs. Ergonomics

Ergo and ergonomics 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.

Ergo (pronounced “uhrr-goh”/”air-goh”) is a conjunction and adverb that functions much like “therefore” or “consequently” in a sentence.

Ergonomics (pronounced “uhr-goh-nawm-icks”) is a noun. It’s the study of a worker in their environment.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Eray thought he could work just fine on his coffee table in his beanbag chair, ergo he didn’t buy office furniture for his apartment. But after a couple months grinding away, he noticed his neck and back hurt. He called his sister, Erica, an OT. She told him, “Being cheap is costing you, Eray. You can’t work all hunched over. It’s bad ergonomics. You need to sit up straight in a firm chair. Elbows and knees at 90 degrees! And you need a screen at eye level when you are sitting straight up in chair, looking straight ahead. You can’t be looking down at a screen that’s small and near your hands.”

Easily Confused Words: Bauble vs. Bubble

Bauble and bubble 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.

Bauble (pronounced “baw-buhl”) is a noun. It means a piece of glitzy, gaudy, and/or cheap jewelry.

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

  • As a verb, it means heated water that is indicating it’s reached boiling temperature. Other liquids can also bubble when they reach their boiling point.
  • As a noun, it means the temporary sphere formations of soapy water or similar consistency. Soap bubbles float on air until all their water evaporates, then they pop.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Babson was staring at an engagement ring he just purchased yesterday. It was elegant and simple, not an over the top bauble. He was thinking over how to propose to his partner. They’d been through so much. Was this the right time? He was so lost in thought he forgot he was cooking. His bucatini noodles had started to bubble over on the stove and now the house smelled terrible. This wasn’t going to be a romantic evening in. Maybe he could arrange dinner out. Being spontaneous was a little nerve-wracking for him. It wasn’t going to feel as special without everything being carefully planned out. 

 

Easily Confused Words: Rheumatism vs. Ruminate

Rheumatism and ruminate 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.

Rheumatism (pronounced “roo-muh-tih-zmm”) is a noun. It’s a medical word. It relates to inflammation, pain, and/or stiffness in the joints or back.

Ruminate (pronounced “roo-mihn-ate”) is a verb. It really means to chew cud, like a cow or other livestock animal does. More figuratively, it means to think a lot about something in the past or future.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Rumer wanted her adoptive parents, her aunt and uncle, to go dancing for their 50th anniversary. Unfortunately, their rheumatism had been bad for months so they declined. This was an activity they once loved and even won competition trophies for, but now it had been set aside. Rumer ruminated on what could be done to help them, and what other activities might be an adequate substitute.

Easily Confused Words: Polls vs. Poles

Polls and poles 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.

Polls (pronounced “pohlz”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a plural noun, it can mean voting booths.
  • As a plural noun, it can mean surveys taken among a sample of the population to gauge public thoughts or opinions on an issue.
  • As a verb, it is the he/she/it form of the verb, poll, which is to take a survey of opinions.

Poles (pronounced “pohls”)

  • As the plural form of the noun pole. A pole is a circular long, narrow piece of wood, metal, or plastic.
  • Capitalized, it is a proper noun referring to two or more people from Poland, or the people of the nation of Poland.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Patrycja Przybyszewski was a popular candidate among immigrant Poles living in her city, but she wasn’t getting as much enthusiastic response in polls taken outside that community.