9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

Rotting deep in the back of the refrigerator of common word usage are even more suspicious-looking Tupperwares full of mixed-up words. Here's a few choice delicacies.
9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

After writing an article on words people mix up with other words and another article on words people mix up with other words, I've come to realize that all that was only the tip of the icebox.

Haha! Iceberg. That was a freebie to see if you were paying attention. Anyway, rotting deep in the back of the refrigerator of common word usage are even more suspicious-looking Tupperwares full of mixed-up words. Here's a few more choice delicacies.

Mantle / Mantel

Whose Picture Goes on the Mantle? g +1 by 0 Erin Munroe with Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. Formal family pictures, holiday pictures, school pictures, and can

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

A mantel is the shelf above your fireplace, whereas a mantle is a cloak, or possibly a layer of the Earth. I also wouldn't recommend drilling a hole beneath the Earth's crust and throwing photos of your loved ones into a rock layer with a minimum temperature of 500 degrees Celsius, because they might take it the wrong way.

Laveeed mantle hypothesi crust Whole mantle hypothesis o a b Ol ce mnghe doen aets R r aoe vouh - o wathe owbe tore
By Ewalde1, via Wikimedia Commons

And if you hate your family, why half-ass it? Shoot those photos straight to the core.

It's pretty good stuff when they screw it up the other way around, too:

Mitt Romney officially throwing down the gauntlet and taking up the mantel of the Republican presidential candidate.

Can't you just picture Mitt Romney throwing his glove down, ripping that solid block of Italian marble away from the still-burning fireplace and hoisting it above his head with a primal roar as he claims his rightful place as the party's nominee? Yeah, I can't, either.

Wreak / Reek


Reeking havoc?

"Wreak" is a somewhat archaic word that nowadays, like a paranoid old person, refuses to go out of the house without its partner, "havoc." That might be why so many people are unfamiliar with it and decide to sub in "reek" instead, which of course means "stink."

As pictured above, sometimes storms are known to "reek havoc."

NEW ORLEANS-Hurricane Isaac was downgraded to a tropical storm on Wednesday, August 29, but not before reeking havoc in New Orleans and surrounding ar
Canyon News

Out of all the things that reek so mightily that the result is described as "havoc," many of them are football players, which actually sort of makes sense.

NFL Rumors: Cortland Finnegan Reeking Havoc at Titans camp f Like o a

While the defensn was reeking navor the offense was having its own way with the Provo defense

To prevent this from happening again in 2012. Cunningham has invented a SCheme that not only makes it difficult to neutralize Suh, but allows Suh and
Sidelion Report

And, also not surprisingly, seafood.

Invasie rawfish reeking havoc on native crawfish species IS nothing new.

Wreckless / Reckless


So the idea of W's in front of R's really screws people up, I guess, because another often silly mix-up involves the common word "reckless," which means "having no regard for the consequences." Sometimes people like to add a W for some reason.

The man is Jason Daniel Jones and he's facing a list charges including: stolen vehicle, evading a police officer for disregard of safety,resisting arr

This is a particularly good mix-up, since you get pretty much the opposite meaning. You get these bizarre scenarios where the cops put people in jail for not causing any accidents. This is a society where everyone with a driver's license is required to get into X number of accidents a year or they forfeit their right to drive. And you know why? Because who needs some self-righteous pricks who've never gotten into an accident driving around, thinking they're better than us, huh? Look at Mr. Hands-So-Clean, thinks he's so great just because he's never slammed into a bus full of children. Well, now he has to, so he can stop looking down his nose at us.

In this universe, it's downright dangerous to drive so safely.

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up
NBC Los Angeles

Wreckless driving causes accidents because people get so pissed off at snooty Sir Drives-So-Well that they have to ram his car, and who can blame them? The only way to prevent accidents is to cause them, and I don't know how anyone can argue with that.

And finally, an example from Jamaica ...

WRECKLESS driving by operators of robot taxis in the Corporate Area is spiralling out of control. forcing the police to search for new strategies to c
Jamaica Observer

... where police are cracking down on the spotless driving habits of robot ta- wait a minute. Robot taxis? I too was intrigued by the prospect of Jamaican future-cars until I found that in Jamaica, unlicensed taxis are called "robot taxis" for some reason. If you are wondering why, you will have to tune in to my future article, "10 Jamaican Slang Terms Whose Origins I Can't Find Despite a Lot of Internet Searching," which admittedly also won't tell you why, but maybe being able to share your frustration with someone else can be just as good.

Compliment / Complement

'We have some of the best wine varietals from our iocal region that will compliment famous lOCal food like KUSShi Oysters on Friday evening.


"Compliment" and "complement" are like a pair of mischievous twins from a Shakespeare comedy, causing all kinds of hijinks when they swap places. Often times, people meaning to say that two things "complement" (go well with, or complete) each other end up saying they "compliment" (say nice things about) each other. This is funniest when it involves inanimate objects, as above.

Civility is not reserved for the hoity-toity world of wine and oysters, however. Even your simple county fair foods have the grace to pay each other their due.

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

And why should inanimate objects only talk up each other? Everyone's always talking about women needing a boost to their self-image. Why not have talking beauty products to fill that niche?

ho- hum beauty ritual? If you find yourself craving a unique beauty product this fall to compliment your individual taste, look no further than Givenc

"Sassy Crimson?" it says. "That's exactly what I would have suggested for an autumn skin tone! Girl, you a pro!"

And couldn't more manly pursuits use a touch of positive sharing as well? Of course they could.

My dream team consists of players that compliment each other. It isn't compiled with top scorers at each position, and it certainly doesn't consist of

Athleticism? Strength? Scoring? Bah, the most important thing is that the players on the team make each other feel safe and give them a sense of belonging with constant positive affirmations. Because isn't that what sports are really all about? Being a winner ... on the inside?

Cord / Chord

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

Since striking one kind of "cord," like a guitar string, can produce music, it's understandable that some people confuse that with striking a "chord" -- a group of harmonizing notes, and also an expression for making some kind of statement that "harmonizes" with what your audience is feeling. Like telling a group of old people that you don't understand this "rap" nonsense. (They're just talking! They're not even singing! That's lazy!)

Striking an inanimate cord seems cruel somehow, since it's unlikely the cord has done anything to hurt you. However, "striking a cord" always seems to be brought up as a communal activity, like stoning people to death in the old days, I guess. It helps unite people like the women at the Republican National Convention. (I don't mean to keep bringing up Republicans, but the Democratic convention hasn't happened yet. I can't predict what kind of typos people are going to make about it like some kind of Malapropism Nostradamus.)

TORONTO Mitt Romney's campaign may have struck cord a with women Tuesday night after his wife handed Americans a different glimpse at the presidential

For what it's worth, liberals such as Michael Moore also want to see large groups of people strike some poor cord.

The subject matter is weighty and Moore hopes it will strike a cord with manv Early indications are that it may

And it looks like women in general are pissed off at that damn cord.

Our Bodies, Ourselves' continues to strike a cord with women

Farmers and young people come together to raise their hands to the cord as well, and as a bonus, bring back our old friend "tact."

Farmers wanting to strike a cord with Generation Y might want to follow a similar tact to Far North Queensland vegetable grower Mark Gray.

And I would love to see at least one case where there's an indication that this cord abuse is justified, so this one might provide an opening:

l think this year we struck DD Coroe that will delight all our fans.

"... one that was holding up a child molester above a pit of sharks."

Conscious / Conscience


The conscience, as you probably know, is a small cartoon cricket that gives you a guilt trip when you are about to do something bad. Meanwhile, "conscious" is a psychology term for the portion of your mind you are aware of and in control of; for example, the part of you that decides who to ask on a date, as opposed to the part of you that accidentally calls the date by your previous boyfriend/girlfriend's name and therefore ends the date.

When you mix them up, you have this glowing description of how Ron Paul refuses to give in to his suppressed desires:

The tribute to the Congressman known as 'Dr. No' for his refusal to cave into peer pressure and vote against his conscious was held in conjunction wit

And you also get intriguing pictures like this one:

A mob has .ou no September 13, 2009 Weirton Daily Times

Clearly a mob of zombies.

Shawna40 6/1/2012 10:33 PM 1 Vote Report User We know she has an appetite, too bad she lacks a conscious.

An even more apt description of a zombie. And finally, this amazing literary thriller:

James William Peercy Without A Conscious... lan T CT ns

I checked to see if he was going for some kind of wordplay here, and if anyone in the book was described as going through events while unaware of their actions or anything like that, but it doesn't seem to be the case. I did find some remarkable writing, however, like this fine sentence:

"It was a dream," she sundered as she spoke, "though at the time, I was confused, and had trouble determining what was real or not."

It took me a while, but I think it's supposed to be "shuddered." As it is, she apparently just broke right in half while talking about her dream. Considering that one of the characters is named "Lenord," and that the address of a real place in the book is "1234 North Park Drive," I give this book five out of five stars and recommend it as a "Must Read."

Ball / Bawl

x serryjw (1000+ posts) I Can't stop... I'm balling like a baby

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

The word "bawl" only has one meaning (cry/shout), whereas "ball" as a verb has a number of meanings, one of which is very funny if you are immature. If you are not immature, you go away and sip your chardonnay and listen to jazz, because we gonna get ballin' up in here.

So without further ado, here are some of our finest examples. For those that involve underage children, I suggest imagining them playing basketball or making a lot of money.

He really drove an INCREDIBLE race. Only 7 have won THREE times. Ashley was BALLING LIKE A BABY SO PROUD. llove her, movies are GREAT! CONGRATS to the

Me and Jack were balling and balling and crying and weeping and we're like we're never getting back. Pryfogle said.

When it comes to the popular phrase "balling one's eyes out," the meaning of "ball" that makes the most sense there is "scooping out," like a melon baller. If you're squeamish, I suggest imagining people who are playing basketball or having sex so enthusiastically that their eyes pop out (metaphorically).

Big Brother 14 Britney Spotted Balling Her Eyes Out Over Her Eviction Twist Yesterday

Tack on three singles and platinum more a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, and Enrique was already by the in a supers

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

It's entirely possible that a boring wedding or the music of Enrique Iglesias might cause people to want to gouge their eyes out, even though I guess music is not visual, but which of us can be completely logical in the face of extreme distress? I won't throw the first stone.

Peek / Peak / Pique


In this case, there's actually three commonly used homophones (words that sound alike, not people who are afraid of gays) to confuse people -- "peek" (to glimpse), "peak" (the high point) and "pique" (to annoy or excite).

First of all, I can't discuss this category without giving credit to Stealth Mountain, the Twitter account whose entire self-described goal is:

Stealth Mountain DStealthMountain M I alert twitter users that they typed sneak peak when they meant sneak peek. 7 live a sad life. https:/ twitter.co

He sends out an automated (I hope) message saying "I think you mean 'sneak peek'" every time someone tweets "sneak peak." His work goes sorely unappreciated by its recipients.

De naam is Natalia. NCLVX 25Jul StealthMountain yes and now shut up View conversation matthijs(L) @matthijs070 25 Jul @stealthMountain shut up!! View

Obviously the dude has the market cornered on Twitter "sneak peaks," so in my own humble way, all I can offer up is a "sneak peak" from a major newspaper website.

A sneak peak at Paul Ryan's convention speech

Meanwhile, since there doesn't seem to be a full-time "pique/peak" spotter, I'll try to fill in that niche briefly.

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

I believe the meaning here is "My curiosity will never attain this high a level again."

Gauntlet / Gamut


First of all, let's clear up the little tussle about gauntlet/gantlet. When people talk about "running the gauntlet," they usually are talking about someone running between two rows of people who are beating them with sticks, or a metaphor drawing on that image. Originally the word was "gantlet," with "gauntlet" meaning "glove," as in the one you throw down to start a fight. Even though most people agree that "gauntlet" is an OK alternate spelling of "gantlet" today, some people still pitch a fit about it, so you make your own decisions.

Anyway, one word that "gauntlet" certainly isn't interchangeable with is "gamut," which means "a range or spectrum," and has the misfortune to also be used in a "runs the ___" phrase. So "running the gamut" means to cover a whole range, whereas "running the gauntlet" means to endure a series of blows, and it's not a good idea to swap back and forth between them, as you can see:

you in the mood good and proper for Bestival 2012! The mix runs the gauntlet from America's Superbowl-baiting sweetheart MIA'S 'Bad Girls' to London g

There is a lot of unintentional dissing going on here as this author describes a song mix as suffering through the music of MIA, Ms Dynamite (or Dyanmite), Public Enemy and Todd Terry, which just seems cruel and unnecessary.

9 Sound-Alike Words You Didn't Know You Were Screwing Up

Meanwhile, this actress endured line after awful line of terrible writing in all kinds of genres.

pieces. the COlo S the sublime type that can only found in nature Early Morning sunrise that runs the gauntlet from cotton candy pink to lavender an

And this piece of art apparently was created by rolling it down a conveyor belt while tormentors shot various colors of paintball pellets at it. An image that ridiculous would normally make me laugh, but sadly there is probably an art student, well, multiple art students, doing it right now.

So until next time, kids, type safe and drive wrecklessly.

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