8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words


Everyone spells words wrong or screws up their grammar from time to time, and when you suggest a perfectly reasonable solution like prison, or the electric chair, suddenly you are a "grammar Nazi" who makes a fuss over "technicalities" when everyone knows damn well what they meant to say.

And you know what, if people are going to spell "receive" wrong or complain about "hypocrasy," OK, whatever, it's pretty obvious what they're getting at. But sometimes they're not just spelling a word wrong, but replacing it with an existing word, with its own definition, creating an entirely different sentence with a new meaning. And if the new meaning is funny, it is a travesty, a travesty I say, if nobody is there to appreciate and laugh at it.

Here's some all-too-common mix-ups for you to spot, so you can be sure to be the laugher and not the laughee.


8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

This man WAS phased.

So here's the deal: When people are looking for the word "faze," they almost always seem to end up using the word "phase." "Faze" means to disturb or throw for a loop, like, "The fact that his girlfriend turned out to be a man did not faze Brian."

"Phase" is normally used as a noun, like, "Brian's interest in women turned out to just be a passing phase anyway." But it can be used as a verb, meaning to synchronize, or to schedule in phases, like, "Brian phased the delivery of Astroglide to his home so that his supply would peak when his companion moved in."

Even news sites make this mistake pretty often.

Toronto Arts & Entertainment/ Celebrity Katy Perry's outburst on ex- classmate doesn't phase him Jessica Carter. Toronto Entertainment News Examiner S
Toronto Entertainment News Examiner

In the snippet above, you can see that Katy Perry's outburst didn't schedule a classmate in chunks.

Being snubbed by Nevada Republican leaders didn't phase Kirk Lippold, who said Saturday that he'll stay in the race the House seat in the state's seco
Fox 5 News Vegas

Also, in sci-fi/fantasy settings, it can mean to travel between dimensions or planes or something. I guess the snubs of Republican Kirk Lippold's party leaders failed to reach the energy threshold required to banish him to another dimension.

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

Dave Bruzza also failed in his attempts to escape the material plane before the rain started.

wandered orouno like she owned the place and even snapped at a few guests, talk about guard pup. The crowed wasn't phased, they enjoyed the weather, c

This person, I think, might have just been typing drunk.



A horde of cash.

"Horde" means a large group of people or animals, like a horde of orcs or Vikings or immigrants. "Hoard" means a stash of treasure, or in verb form, to stash your treasure. A dragon's hoard is something everyone wants to stumble on, while a dragon's horde is something no one wants to encounter.

I think this is one of those where more people might actually get it wrong than get it right. Like the Wall Street Journal here:

Chinese pork processor Zhongpin Inc. plans to repurchase up to $10 million of stock over the next 12 months, joining a growing list of companies tappi
The Wall Street Journal

You can't use "horde" as a verb at all so it just doesn't make sense, and that isn't really funny, but I just put this here because nanny nanny boo boo Wall Street Journal. And here we have the aforementioned cash hordes:

regulators. Employers worry that hiring implies accepting oOSW they can't control or predict. Not surprisingly, American businesses are reluctant to i
The Aspen Times

Pan American sports a market cap of about $3.3 billion with an enterprise value of $2.8 billion once net cash and debt are considered Ironically, when
Money Morning

Which, as you can see in the above cartoon, aren't really threatening so much as kind of cute.


SIRE, shouls we listen tO the serfs' NAY. demands

"Reign" is the rulership of a monarch or other leader. "Reins" are the strings you pull to make a horse do things. Most people know the difference until they have to use them in an expression, and then everything goes haywire.

Smith resigned from his Light Blues post after sealing a third straight SPL title in May, knowing it would be McCoist, McDowall and Ian Durrant taking
The Scottish Daily Record

The biggest confusion comes with "free rein," which means letting someone do what they want, and comes from an equestrian term where you let go of the "rein" and let the horse do what he wants -- which in my experience, is usually to eat grass or poop. Similarly, when you're getting tired of his shenanigans, you "rein him in."

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

You go, "Hey, buddy -- enough with the pooping."

But it seems like everyone in the entire world, for some reason, keeps saying "free reign," which doesn't even make any sense. On the surface it seems to, because you're thinking, a king or queen can do whatever they want. All you need to say is "reign" then. Why add a "free"? Any time people add an adjective to "reign," it refers to the period of time the king or queen rules. A "bloody" reign, a "long" reign, an "uneventful" reign. You might as well talk about giving someone "free era." What does that even mean?

Language nerds are always getting into fights over this, with a lot of people arguing that English is a living language, blah, blah, blah, and if something is used commonly enough then it becomes official. Sure, fine, maybe we'll consider this official someday, but just because it's accepted doesn't mean it's not wrong and stupid.

Tapping into the valley's zeitgeist is also central to her strategy. From the beta lab. where emerging artists have free reign. to the art rages,
The San Jose Mercury News



Syrian security forces and tanks have returned to the city of Hama storming houses and arresting activists after giving protesters nearly free reign i
The Christian Science Monitor


OK, I guess this one pushes some buttons apparently.


Who has the authority to decide the Sw cannon? I 05.07.2010. 09:38 PM UOTE Who do you think hac the most impact (or, at least, should have tho most im
Star Wars: The Old Republic Community

Mixing up "cannon" (the weapon) and "canon" (official laws/history/body of work) is usually only done by nerds, because only nerds (and theologians, I guess) get worked up about whether something is "canon." Regardless, when it happens, it is very, very funny.

Discussion Board Topic View Topic: Superboy Character Being Put Back into Superman Cannon
Facebook Superboy Page

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words


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."

Character Arch... A new year is almost here. I'd like each of us to take a deep breath and think back ... if YOU were a character in a novel, how woul
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.

How important is character arch? In a screenplay, do all main charcters need to go through an major arch?, or do So some remain steadfast throughout?
Done Deal Message Board

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

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


8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

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:

Mormons are best known for their wholesome lifestyle and their mandated missionaries. But. the real tenants of their faith were not Wdelu known. until
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.

-If one denies C core tenant of the Republican Party and does not resign, can we not ex- communicate them?
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.

S THIRD DAY wrote: Scripture and Cannon law of MMGW Religion states that anyone who questions the tenants of scripture are to he ridiculed labeled a r
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:

Brit is part of a team of faculty who lead local and national business. industrial, and community groups through organizational transformation in appl
Waukesha County Technical College

In the eternal SCheme of things, how much do concepts like rent really matter anyway? E

Philosophical tenant.


Ex-Etiquette: Indiscrete dad has everything to lose By JANN BLACKSTONE-FORD AND SHARYL JUPE Contra Costa Times
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.

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

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:

Megan and Brian have meen dating on and off since 2004. however finally tied the knot in a discrete ceremony just one year ago. The couple loo a break
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:

City's downtrodden deserve help in a more discrete way By JOE BELANGER, THE LONDOn FREE PRESS
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.

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

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

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

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

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

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.

Compuware-Professional Services Division is a Bonified Staffing Agency Compuware Project Manager in Milwaukee, WI: (Current Employee)

8 Words You're Confusing With Other Words

Folks coming into work at that staffing agency.

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

Played by newcomac Riley Griffiths, Charles Kazynk is a bonified horror geek, who has watched S one too many times and has a massive collection of com

And this person ...

canvas waiting for the next emotions to explode. Jenny Worton's stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's 1961 film for the New York Theater Workshop will

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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