Easily Confused Words: Grift vs. Gift

Grift and gift 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.

Grift (pronounced “gr-ih-ft”) is a verb. It means to steal from someone through trickery or fraud.

Gift (pronounced “gih-fft”;  rhymes with rift, lift, miffed) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means something given in appreciation or for a special occasion.
  • As a verb, it means to give a gift.
    • The past tense, gifted, indicates a gift was given in the past.
    • However, keep in mind “gifted” can also be an adjective, meaning someone has exceptional intelligence or talents. Context in a sentence indicates whether the word is an adjective or verb.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Geoffrey really appreciated the invitation to lunch with Geraldine and Guinnevere. She picked up the check. He thought this relationship might be going places or lead to business contacts. Later though he got a social media request to pay back his portion for dinner. Suddenly he felt grifted. When he saw Guinnevere, she too mentioned that she got a request to pay a third for dinner and it seemed odd. Why not just ask to split the check three ways up front?

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: GIF vs. Gift.