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Writer Quirks - Jenny Milchman

Commonly Confused Words

Recently, I've come across these six word groups used incorrectly. They are commonly confused words, so I thought I'd shed some light on their correct usage. 

Pouring vs. Poring

Pouring

Unless you plan on pouring coffee or some other drink over your client's "business plan" (which I don't recommend), you will, instead, be poring over their business plan.

Pouring - To send liquid or loose particles falling or flowing. The waitress poured me another glass of sweet tea.

Poring - To read or study with earnest attention. I'm poring over my checkbook, looking for mistakes.

Peek vs. Peak vs. Pique

Often, I come across magazines and blogs promising a "sneak peak". Well, unless you're going to unveil a secret mountain top, you mean "sneak peek". 

Peek: To sneak a look. Imagine the two "e"s are eyes looking at you. The boy peeked in the closet, looking for his Christmas presents.

Peak: Top of the mountain or the highest point. My energy peaks around 10 PM.

Pique: To excite, arouse or sharply irritate. When her husband promised a surprise, Linda's curiosity was piqued.

Heres's another commonly confused pair:

Edition vs. Addition

Edition: A version of something. Rhonda bought a first edition copy of Stephen King's Salem's Lot.

Addition: The process or act of adding. 2 + 2 isn't 5. You need to check your addition.

Raise vs. Raze

Raised: To lift up or elevate. The partygoers raised  their glass in a toast.

Razed: To tear down or demolish. Because of the fire, I'm not sure if the entire home will need to be razed.

Threw vs. Through

Threw: Past tense of "throw". The quarterback threw the football.

Through: To go in one end and out the other. Robert Frost famously said "The only way out is through."

This last example (below) is courtesy my adorable husband. Yeah, he rocks. Seriously. Even when he mixes up big words.

Permutation vs. Permeation

Permutation: To alter, transform, change or rearrange. Mash-ups are permutations.

Permeation: To penetrate or saturate. Grammar faux pas and rife misspellings permeate Facebook feeds.

-- Janet

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