Thursday, December 19, 2013

I’m Still Finding Words That Are Easy to Confuse

Sigh. Melissa is taking a blogging break. I so loved Grammar Police Mondays. Really. I’m not even exaggerating. If it’s about words and word usage, I will love it.

Anyway, with her off being with her family because I suppose that’s more important than us, here’s another set of easily confused words and how not to confuse them.

Mariticide is the killing of your husband. Matricide is the killing of your mother. You don’t want to mix those up. The consequences would be terrible. Remember, killing your mom is just killing your dad with an m instead of a p.

Chord/cord, suggested by Kate Larkendale way back during my last Confused Words post. I know Latin liked to distinguish words of Greek origin by using ch for the hard k sound, but do we still have to do it in English? It’s been like fifteen hundred years. It seems like we can let it go. But if people insist upon using it, remember that cord is either wood or a rope/cable, while chord has to do with music. Or a bunch of esoteric meanings in geometry, engineering and aeronautics.

I had to write current for something and I spelled it with an a because I do that with words a lot (any word that ends with -ent or -ant, I WILL spell it with the wrong vowel every freaking time). A red, squiggly line didn’t pop up underneath. Turns out currant is a real word, a type of raisin. I had no idea that it was a real word. Or that there were types of raisins.

Another word I have to mention because I mix it up. A creek is a body of water, while a creak is a noise. I don’t know of an easy way to tell them apart. You just have to remember that double e is water and e-a is sound.

This one is super annoying because root is always root (pronounced so it rhymes with boot), rout is always rout (pronounced so it’s out with an r in front), but route can be pronounced root or rout. It’s like they were designed for the specific purpose of sowing confusion. Just don’t forget that e when you mean a road/path, otherwise you’re writing about something completely different.

So this is the last word/etymology post of the year : ). I hope you loved them as much as I did!

…You didn’t love them as much as I did. Well, tough. I’m never going to stop.


  1. I did know currants were types of raisins. What kind, I have no idea...

  2. I did know about currants, but it's not something I've tasted... and I doubt I'll ever use them in writing!

  3. Actually, although there is a type of raisin called a currant, currants are a type of... I want to say berry, but I don't know if they are technically berries. There's a bunch of different types -and- a small type of plum-related fruit that is called a black currant. The specific raisin is called a currant, I'm sure, because they resemble these berries.

    Some stores sell currant jelly/jams.

  4. I had heard of currants, but I thought they weren't of the raisin family.

    Like creek and creak, I've been seeing a lot of confusion with peek and peak lately. I can't remember where though.

  5. I love currants. Technically, it love currant-flavoured things. I think it's possible I've mentioned this seven or eight times now, probably with an acknowledgement each time that I've mentioned it before. I'm having déjà déjà vu.

    Anyway, confused words I've run across recently: illicit/elicit; illusive/elusive; and the persistent reign/rein/rain.

  6. Mariticide -- that's one I didn't know before. Is it just killing your husband? Or killing your spouse?

  7. LOL! Dude, I totally knew all of them. Gold star for me. I won't be killing my husband when I intended to kill my mother any time soon. ;)


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