Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yet More Words that are Easy to Confuse

Yes, this again. Honestly, almost half of this list is from Liz’s suggestions. Looking at these, I have to say that English would make a lot more sense if there were not so many homophones (or, English wood make allot moor cense if their whir knot sew many homophones).

These words aren’t homophones, but they’re spellings are close enough that it’s easy to type the wrong thing. Casualty is death…which isn’t very casual, now that I think about it. Causality on the other hand is from cause, like cause and effect.

I hate that every time I write about a ladder, I have to pause and which one is the thing you climb on. Latter is the second thing—that’s literally the definition, the second of two objects. It should be easy to remember because it sounds like later, which is always a time period, but I still have to think about it.

I can understand the confusion of this one. Roll can mean both a piece of bread, anything coiled up, or cyclical motion while role is a part/function (etymologically, role comes from roll, so that’s why they sound alike). The easiest way to tell them apart is to remember that role is abstract, like you play a role in a movie or have a role in society. Anything else is roll.

Anyone else think of that silly “the principal is your pal (get it?!).” saying anytime they hear this? No? Just me then? Unfortunately, it doesn’t help much when you’re trying to construct a sentence about an important subject and you write that it’s “principle”. You just have to keep in mind that principle is always something like a law, while principal means highest. Oh, and the phrases are always “in/on principle”.

Have I written about these before? Whatever. I’m too lazy to go check. Anyway, birth always has to do with having a child or producing something new. Berth is either a sleeping space or a place for a vessel to rest (I guess a ship’s sleeping space). And if you’re trying to avoid something, you give it a wide berth. Remember: berth means space.


  1. Doesn't help with spellchecker either.

    Moody Writing

  2. I have to think about principle/principal every time! It sucks!
    Also compliment/complement. Seriously? You're gonna change the i/e and change the definition?

  3. I have a friend who is, admittedly not the brightest bulb. At some point in her life she must have decided she wasn't going to mess with all this "English" nonsense because ever since then she's picked one form of the word and ran with it. She buys pears of shoes, can't decide what to where, and most confusingly of all, she doesn't seem to care two much. ;-)

  4. How did I suggest those?

    Just today saw something where he used "principle" when it should have been "principal". In a history class. Sigh.

  5. Ah, principle versus principal. I always have to ask myself, "which is it again?"


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