Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Anonymity vs. Anemone

Anonymity and anemone 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.

Anonymity (pronounced “ann-awn-ihm-it-tee”) is a noun. It means the state of being unknown, or remaining unidentified.

For example:

  • Whistleblowers and witnesses to a crime might initially seek anonymity when reporting a crime or a problem. This is to avoid backlash, harassment, and retaliation by the accused or their allies.
  • Social media websites initially allowed commenters to have anonymity when posting comments. Unfortunately, in practice, this feature enabled harassment and obnoxious behavior by people who couldn’t be held accountable. Sites have learned the hard way that users must create an account, and must log in, in order to make a comment. If a user behaves problematically, their account can be disabled.

Anemone (pronounced “uh-nih-muh-nee”) is a noun.

  • On land, it can mean a flowering plant in the buttercup family. Anemones have oval-shaped petals in a variety of colors. The centers of the flowers are either green and yellow, or black.
  • In the ocean, it means a stationary aquatic creature. It eats by stinging prey with cells in its finger-like tentacles. It uses the tentacles to pull their victim’s paralyzed body into the mouth. Check out a video here.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Andriel replanted 1000 anemones in the center of town after the initial planting by the local garden club was destroyed by an overnight reckless driver. It was thought someone would have witnessed the crime, but the culprit was able to maintain their anonymity for many years. The town installed speed bumps and hidden cameras.

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Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Chilly vs. Chili vs. Chile

Chilly, chili, and Chile 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.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Chilly (pronounced “chill-ee”; rhymes with silly, filly) is an adjective. It describes cold conditions in the weather or in a room where the climate control is set at too low a temperature to be comfortable for the occupants.

Chili (pronounced “”chill-ee”; rhymes with silly, filly)

  • As an adjective, it describes peppers high in capsicum. They are known for their hot flavor that burns the tongue, causing teary eyes, and a warming wet sensation in the nasal passages. The jalapeño, habañero, scotch bonnet, carolina reaper, and ghost are all types of chili peppers. Their heat is measured in Scoville units; click the link to learn more.
  • As a noun, it is short for chili co carne. This is a hearty stew-like dish featuring ground meats, beans, tomato sauce, canned crushed tomatoes, ground pepper spices, diced onions, diced peppers. Crushed bread, sour cream, and/or shredded cheese is served as toppings for chili. Due to its heartiness, its typically eaten in winter, but it is on menus year round.
    • This same stew is also used as a topping option on hot dogs. Relish, coleslaw, ketchup, mustard, nacho cheese, and/or diced white onions.
  • As a proper noun, Chili is the name of on member of US 1990s hip hop group TLC. Proper nouns always have a capitalized first letter.

Chile (pronounced US: “chill-ee”/CH:”chee-lay”)

  • As a proper noun, it is a country on the southwest coast of the continent of South America. As a proper noun, it should always be capitalized. Here’s a video of Miss Chile introducing herself so you can appreciate how a native speaker says the name of their country. By the way, people, food, and other things from Chile are “Chilean.”
  • As a noun, as in “chile relleno,” refers to dishes featuring hot peppers. These dishes are from Mexico, Central America, and South America. They also appear in the cuisine of Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Chilton didn’t realize it would be chilly in South America when booked a trip for June. But now, here he was, freezing his butt off in Chile and trying to remember his college Spanish. How did you say, “what does this cost?” or “I want this food,” again? 

He stumbled upon an outerwear store for a hat and an alpaca wool sweater. It was a little more colorful than his usual wardrobe, but it would have to do. Next was finding some food. He never missed a bowl of chili and cornbread so much in his life. The waiter seemed impatient as he tried to figure out what to get.

“Sopa…con carne y pan maiz, por favor?” he asked.

“Sopa Carbonada y humitas, gracias!” The waiter disappeared. 

Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Oleaginous vs. Oligarchy

Oleaginous and oligarchy 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.

Oleaginous (pronounced “oh-lee-aj-ihn-uhss”) is an adjective.

  • It describes something that produces oil or includes oil.
  • It describes something greasy to the touch, or appearing greasy or oily.
  • It can also be used figuratively to describe someone or something that is dirty, dishonest, or sneaky to deal with, like the stereotype of used car salesman or some politicians.

Oligarchy (pronounced “all-ih-garr-key”) is a noun. It means a political system where a small (non-military) group runs everything, it’s government by the few. Since the 1990s, this system of government has been spreading throughout the world. [Plutocracy is government by the wealthy.]

The following story uses both words correctly:

Oliver wasn’t sure who to vote for. Candidate 1 spoke eloquently and seemed to have some good ideas, but he had an unfortunate oleaginous, disheveled appearance in public. Candidate 2 was far more polished, but he was light on the details of what he would actually do. He used a lot of positive, feel-good language that gave many people a false sense of assurance. Most disturbing, however, were how many friends he had among the dictators and leaders of oligarchies around the world. He seemed to admire them and want to imitate them. This was inexcusable for Oliver, so he ultimately voted for the other candidate.

Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Gait vs. Gate

Gait and gate are easily confused words. They are also homophones, meaning they sound the same, but they are spelled differently, and mean different things.

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.

Gait (pronounced “gayt”) is a noun. It means the rhythm of walking and running. People and animals have them.

  • If you’ve ever had a leg injury, relearning your gait is part of the process of walking normally once again.
  • If you’ve ever watched a horse or dog race, the commentators’ may discuss an animal’s gait.

Gate (pronounced “gayt”) is a noun.

  • It means a door to a fence or other outdoor enclosure that delineates someone’s property.
  • It can also mean a security door that demands visitors use a keypad or a callbox to allow grant entry into a neighborhood. Before keypads and call boxes, a human gatekeeper would check for an access badge (sticker, plate, etc.) or make a phone call to the destination to verify entry is allowed by a visitor before allowing access. A gatekeeper typically had a booth or shelter in front of the gate.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Gatsby knew something was wrong the minute his horse left the gate. Sure enough, it had broken its back leg but was still attempting to run. It had an awkward gait that looked extremely painful with each step the horse made.

Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Abby vs. Abbey

Abby and abbey 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.

Abby (pronounced “ab-ee”) is a noun. It is a shortened form of the female name Abigail. Abigail comes from Hebrew; it means “my father is joyful.”

Abbey (pronounced “ab-eee”; rhymes with flabby, tabby) is a noun. It means a dwelling for a religious order of nuns or monks.

Monks and nuns often follow a specific saint’s example or teachings, Franciscan nuns are inspired by Francis of Assisi, Benedictine nuns are inspired by Benedict of Nursia. For more information on the most well-known orders around the world, click here.

If you watch the show Downton Abbey, it might be curious or odd why there are no nuns or monks on the show. Downton houses an Earl, his family, and the unmarried servants who tend to their every need.

The answer lies with the reign of Henry VIII. When the Roman Catholic church refused to grant him a divorce from his first wife, he broke his country’s religious link to Rome. Hundreds of religious sites, including abbeys, were cut off from their traditional leadership through the Dissolution of the Monasteries from 1536-1541.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Abby had always thought she’d join an abbey following high school graduation. But going on a religious missionary retreat had changed things for her.

She realized how many underprivileged children might exist in the country they visited, and how many more existed around the world. She thought about kids in less trendy clothes at school that her friends had made fun of, and she’d said nothing. 

In witnessing these children’s situations in contrast to her own privilege, she found herself questioning her belief in God. She wondered if he existed at all. 

She also had made new friends on the trip. One in particular, Jamie, she couldn’t stop thinking about.

Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Seasoning vs. Seasonal

Seasoning and seasonal 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.

Seasoning (pronounced “seez-uh-nihng”; rhymes with reasoning) is a noun. It means a blend of herbs and spices put on food to improve its flavor. Often seasoning is applied to meats before they are cooked, from the simplest sprinkling of salt and pepper, to a ten spice smoky rub applied to a pork butt.

Seasonal (pronounced “seez-uh-nuhl”) is an adjective.

  • It can describe things relating to the current cultural and thermal conditions in a place. For example, I am writing this post in December in the USA. So “seasonal” items include Christmas trees, wreaths, and decor featuring polar animals and Christmas characters like Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman.
  • It can describe agricultural food products that are ready for consumption in the current season. In summer this includes melons, bananas, and peaches. In later summer-fall, this includes apples squash, and sweet potatoes. In winter, it’s rooot vegetables and ground-dwelling leafy greens.
    • If you follow a macrobiotic diet, you would only eat things “in season.” In farm to table dining, restaurants try to adhere to seasonal fruit and vegetables available from spring to fall. Come winter, they hire a frozen food service, or use otherwise preserved foods to get by until spring returns.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Seymour was asked if he wanted seasoning on his tea. “What do you mean?” 

“Well it’s October and some people like pumpkin spice on theirs. It’s seasonal. It’s got cinnamon and nutmeg in it.” 

“Actually I’d like jalapeño and hot peppers blend. I really need to wake up.” 

“We don’t have that.” 

“Well try harder next time.” 

Easily Confused Words, Uncategorized

Easily Confused Words: Odious vs. Odyssey

Odious and odyssey 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.

Odious (pronounced “oh-dee-uhss”) is an adjective. It describes something gross, objectionable, something provoking hate or disgust in others. For example, rotting garbage is odious.

Odyssey (pronounced “odd-ihs-see”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means a long journey with travails, hardships, and learning experiences.
  • As a proper noun, The Odyssey is one of two famous poems, attributed to Homer. It is the sequel to The Iliad. It covers Odysseus’ journey home after fighting in the Trojan War.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Odetta was an obsessive clean freak. When she travelled in working class boroughs around the world, she was appalled and revulsed by how odious their city streets were. It was a blend of human and animal pee, cigarette buts, and garbage, and the local people didn’t seem to notice at all. When her odyssey through several countries was done, she was relieved to return to her meticulously clean home.