☼ Author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse and Naked Tarot. Co-Creator of the Snowland Deck and Coffee Tarto. Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer. Wife. Homeschooling Mom. Mystic. Foodie. Mental Hygienist. Renaissance Soul. Conceptual Blender. 7w8. ENxP. Award-Winning Cook. BS Adverse. Lover of Life. ☼
Hello fearless writers! It’s
time for another episode of Commonly Confused Words. Believe it or not, I come
up with each episode’s words based on reading incorrect usage on the web or in
print. Especially egregious when the fallacious swap out occurs in print, in my
opinion, but it happens.
Without further ado, let’s dive
into nine sets of words that are commonly confused:
Chord vs. Cord
The most common misuse of this
set occurs with the phrase “struck a chord”, when the correct “chord” is
swapped out for the incorrect “cord”.
Chord: Two or more musical notes struck or sung together producing
a pleasing harmony. Thus, when something “strikes a chord”, it resonates.
Since my kitty just died, the author’s memoir on pet loss struck a deep
Cord: A thick string, thin rope or cable.
If I set the lamp on this table, the electrical cord won’t reach the
College vs. Collage
Unless you’re pursuing higher
education in scrapbooking or found art, you’re not going to collage (pronounced
cole-LAHJ)…you’re going to college (COL-lehj).
College: Institute for higher learning.
After High School, Jen is going to college.
Collage: Sticking a hodgepodge of photos, paper, found art and
other items together to form a picture.
I’m collecting old newspapers and vintage photos to make a collage
Moot vs. Mute
Unless your plea is falling upon
deaf ears, your point is moot—not mute.
Moot: Doubtful, debatable, unresolved or unlikely.
Arguing whether reptilian creatures are guised as political leaders
seems a moot point in reasonable debate.
Mute: Unwilling or unable to make a sound or speak.
Helen Keller was born both blind and mute.
Roll vs. Role
If you’re listing your favorite
sites on your blog, it’s a Blog Roll—not a Blog Role. Unless, of course, your
favorite sites are vying for some kind of acting award…
Roll: An official list (in this case)
Excellent grades secured her place on the Honor Roll.
Role: A specific function or acting part.
It’s probably easy for Meryl Streep to get choice movie roles.
Alley vs. Ally
If you’re walking down a dark
alley (owl-LEE), you had better hope you run into an ally (owl-LYE). But don’t
walk through an ally, lest you lose the friendship.
Alley: A narrow passageway.
Don took a shortcut down the alley on his way home.
Ally: A mutually supportive person or group.
In WWII, England, France and America were allies against Germany.
Perk vs. Perq
I’ve seen this confusion a lot.
In fact, I’ve seen it in a both book about writing and a novel! In short, I’ve seen this confusion from writers who
should know better. Writers don’t get “perks” unless they’re females walking
out into frigid temperatures or males running into bodacious babes.
Perk: To stick up or become lively. Or, short for percolate (to drip or filter).
When she heard the name of her favorite band mentioned, her ears perked
Perq: Short for perquisite.
A bonus, extra, freebie or advantage.
One of the perqs of being a baker is sampling raw cookie dough.
Two vs. To vs. Too
Most people use “two” correctly.
It’s to vs. too that gets confused
the most. To remember which is which, consider the extra “o” in too as a hint to the word’s meaning: “in
Two: The number 2
Joe thought he danced as if he had two left feet.
To: A preposition indicating direction, destination or position.
Mary needed to walk to the market to get some milk.
Too: As well. Extremely.
Tina, if you’d like, Katy can come, too.
You’re vs. Your
This is a sneaky pair. More than
once, I’ve caught myself typing the wrong word, especially posting on Facebook when
I’m in a hurry—even though I know
better. So keep an eye out for this easy-to-do switcheroo! If you’re not sure
which is correct, see if you can substitute “you are” for the word. If you can,
and it still makes sense, you’re is
the correct word. If not, use your.
NB: Do not trust MS Word grammar check to catch mistakes when it comes to
“you’re” vs. “your”! There have been times when Word suggested the wrong word for this pair.
You’re: Contraction of “you” and “are”.
You’re such a kidder, Jack!
Your: Belonging or relating to someone.
Don’t forget your coat, Linda!
Pseudo Name vs. Pseudonym
OK, this is a crazy one…but I
saw it on a blog recently and thought I’d set the record straight. Since
“pseudo” means false or fake, calling a pseudonym and Pseudo Name is, I guess,
technically correct (even if it’s not really a word). But if the blogger meant
to use the word pseudonym, another
word for nom de plume or penname,
then it’s a faux pas.
Pseudonym comes from the Greek pseudōnumon ("false
name") and the French pseudonyme.
Alrighty, kiddos, I hope you enjoyed Commonly
Confused Words Part 2. If you have any questions about proper usage or notice
some confused words in the wild, by all means take a moment to comment here or
email me at synerjay (at) atlanticcbb (dot) net.
It drives me crazy when I see the wrong use of "s".
Look at the poster on the right.
Now, we know that "thems" isn't a word. But if it were, as the creator of this poster intended, then it would be written just like I did: THEMS.
Why? Because it's intended as a plural. More than one "them" equals "thems".
Now, if "them" owned something, or had an attribute, it would be "them's".
Here are some examples:
1. There were three cats on the fence. 2. Hey, look at that middle cat's white tail!
Number one is an example of a plural "s"--more than one cat. Number two is an example of a possessive "s" that shows ownership.
When you're confused, ask yourself "Is there more than one thing I'm talking about here?" If yes, then add an "s" without an apostrophe because it's a plural usage.
Here's another example:
1. I found two coins in the couch. 2. The coin's date was completely rubbed off.
Another way to tell the difference is to ask yourself if the sentence can be reworded using "of the". The date of the coin was completely rubbed off. (Tips you off that it's possessive). And, "Hey, look at the white tail of the middle cat!"