8 Words the Internet Loves to Confuse With Other Words


"This! This, my friends, is what we are fighting for!"

A principle is a basic truth or a guiding belief, and a principal is a dude that runs a school. These are very different things, so you'd think we could easily tell them apart, but no.

Pakistan Christian TV

Well, of course not. If our political system was based on principals, our top issues would be "gum control", the right to skateboard on government property, and whether you have to wear a flag pin to prove you've got "spirit". Also, criminals would only have to go to jail for an hour after work. But they would have to call their parents.

USA Today

It really is the basic principals that make sense to us simple folk. All those newfangled experimenting principals with their "magnet programs" and acronyms and "cooperative classroom designs" and having Jamie Oliver come in and cook healthy lunches - they are just confusing the hell out of our average American brains.


This is just mean. No matter how much you need to have your voice heard, this isn't the right way to do it.

"Principal" has some other meanings, one of which is "a sum of money." Standing on that would be a little kinder than standing on a school principal, but I think you might send some mixed messages.


OK, so you know what a hanger is. It is, as the name implies, something to hang things on. Like so:


So here's a really confusing news story. It starts out like this:


What? Environmental approval? Why?


Well, yeah, it's just a fucking coat hanger.


OK, that is a big coat hanger.

Obviously they meant "hangar," which is something airplanes are stored in. I guess you could store an airplane on a hanger too but it would need to be reaallllly big.

What do you supposed the hangers are hanging on?


"Tact" means the ability to sense what's OK to say in a social context, like checking the racial makeup in a room before you start making minstrel jokes. A "tack" is a pin for putting posters on walls, or gear for riding horses, or - and this is where it gets mixed up with tact - a way to change direction in sailing.

A sailor who is heading straight into a kraken's mouth might try "a different tack," to steer himself toward a not-kraken's-mouth somewhere. Somehow, people everywhere keep thinking the expression is "a different tact", possibly because they think "tact" is short for "tactic," and "a different tactic" makes sense. And a lot of the time, they're trying to fix a communication problem, so the word "tact" seems like it would be connected to fixing that somehow.

And that's why you get this everywhere:

The Huffington Post

The Montgomery Advertiser

Though that's the most common mixup of these words, it's a lot more fun the other way.

Fangoria comments

I like to think this poster is asking any critics of the actress to show their manhood, and at the same time implying it will be very small.


I guess it is like some kind of secret token you have to show to be accepted on that forum.

"That tack is much too big! You're an impostor!"


This bear is bare.

I would never dream of insulting you by explaining the difference between bare and bear. Third graders know this. Nevertheless, people mix them up all the damn time.

Take this story on an elementary school:

Pacific Daily News

That just seems really inappropriate.

The Hattiesburg American

That seems like a subtle threat that employees who don't strip for their bosses might get fired. That is also inappropriate.


Clearly these three athletes are so well-endowed that if they were to strip at the same time, the world's eyes would explode.

Vanity Fair
Even the top halves of soccer players are pretty dangerous.

The Albany Herald

Yeah, it's hard enough to get a regular passenger to agree to a strip search, so I'm pretty sure a terrorist carrying an actual bomb would be hanging onto his clothes like a madman.

The Irish Independent

This mixup goes the other way and seems to imply that Ireland requires a certain number of bears in its government at all times.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

I can understand not letting women show breasts in public, but not letting them even carry them out of the house, I mean, how would that even work? He knows they are not detachable, right?

So yeah, type safe out there, kids, or next thing you know you'll be trying to remove women's boobs or follow a regiment back to base, and that never turns out well.

For more from Chrstina, check out The 6 Biggest Badasses Who Lived As The Opposite Sex and The 6 Most Statistically Full of Shit Professions.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

Christina H

  • Rss

More by Christina H:

See More
To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!