8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words


Character arches are among the least stable architectural structures.

An arch is a physical structure in the shape of half of a McDonald's sign. An arc is a path or a curve in the same shape.

If a fictional character follows some kind of, you know, path, throughout the course of a narrative, it would be a "character arc." Now people who keep typing "character arch" might get defensive and claim that "arch" works too because it's the same shape and, um, you know, living language, blah blah. Well, make them pronounce it. I bet you they're going to say "ark" with the hard K sound, which is never how you pronounce "arch" as a separate word, and at that point, you go, "Come on, buddy, we all know you meant 'arc,' and slipped up. Just fess up and laugh it off and we'll have a drink."

My Writing Mentor

The disturbing thing is that most people who are talking about character arches in the first place are people who are, or want to be writers. The quote above is from a writing mentor and the one below is from an aspiring screenwriter. Eeesh. Not a good start, guy.

Done Deal Message Board

"Come on, honey. I heard all main characters have to go through one of these."


The tenants of scripture.

Even though pretty much everyone knows the difference between tenants (occupants of someone else's property) and tenets (beliefs), there is always someone out there mixing them up. In fact, while you were reading that sentence, seven people on the Internet typed "tenant" when they meant "tenet." I just made that up. Here, read a quote:

MyFox Memphis

The best part is that people who screw up "tenet/tenant" are likely to make another funny mistake, often in the same sentence.

Rush Limbaugh Forum

You might think he meant "excommunicate" and that hyphen was just for the line break, but no, "EX-COMMUNICATE" is all over that post, mostly in caps. I think it means to communicate with someone in the past.

Lattitudes And Attitudes Seafaring Forum

And here we have a double jackpot. Tenant and cannon paired together in a lovely duet. "MMGW" is Man Made Global Warming, so yeah, this is one of those people. And finally, you can get some interesting mental images, like here:

Waukesha County Technical College

Philosophical tenant.


The Kansas City Star

The idea of an "indiscrete" dad is scary. "Discrete" means separate, either separate from other external items, or divided into separate, distinct parts. This dad is either an amorphous blob, with the normally separate limbs, head and organs melded into an undifferentiated mass, or he is not entirely separate from the environment, melding with the walls or the ground he walks on.

In other words, this dad is the Sandman from Spider-Man.

He was a dad, too. All the pieces fit.

I'm pretty sure they were looking for "discreet," meaning hush-hush. This gossip writer had the same problem:

Hollywood Life

Although it's true, they probably did have a separate ceremony and didn't participate in a mass wedding Unification Church style. On the other hand, this guy wants each of the city's homeless fed in individual soup kitchens:

London Free Press

Which is really impractical. This is one of those word mix-ups that actually happens the other way pretty often too, and usually to funnier effect.


This is a job posting for an engineer that can work with components who don't give up their secrets easily.


And Lenovo has got a point here. If all notebooks had discreet graphics, this is what watching porn on them would be like:

Bona Fide/Bonified

As you probably know, "bona fide" means genuine, whereas bonified isn't really a word. Now if you look it up, you'll find that bonify technically exists as an archaic word meaning "to make something good." Like Darth Vader was bonified at the end of Return of the Jedi. OOPS, SPOILERS!

But that word is pronounced with a short o, like "bawn-i-fied," whereas these people will always pronounce their new creation "bone-i-fied." So instead of subbing an existing, archaic word in for the word they meant, I maintain they're actually creating a new word. And it clearly means to turn something into bone.


Folks coming into work at that staffing agency.

This guy has probably achieved a horror geek's fantasy:


And this person ...

Times Square Chronicles

Honestly I think they're trying to say they got an erection.

Allow Christina to entertain you with more of the Internet in 8 Stupid Amazon Products With Impressively Sarcastic Reviews, or make your vocabulary even less stupid with 9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think.

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