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less commonly confused words...

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joko | 14:23 Thu 08th Mar 2012 | Phrases & Sayings
43 Answers
we all know the usual ones that are mistaken - your, you're etc - but this question is not about all those common ones - i was just thinking about the less common ones...

over the last 6 months - year, i have noticed quite a large number of people using wandering instead of wondering, and weary instead of wary...

these are not merely mispellings - they mean different things, so i wonder what the people think when they see the other word written down somewhere...? why do they think this? do they really not know both words...?

one who said weary, was my friend and i was confused by it because it changed the meaning of her comment...basically saying she was tired of someone she had only just met... but when i realised she meant and said it...she wouldnt have it at first...then accepted it... then used it again a few months later

any thoughts?
and have you noticed any less common words that get often mixed up...?


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I have a look at the Weight Watchers' boards on a daily basis. The one that sticks out like a sore thumb is when someone says they want to "loose" weight. Lose and loose seem to be confused frequently.
I can never remember which bear/bare to use when saying something like 'bare/bear with me'. I have been told, I just never remember.
Agreed Evian, I remember it by thinking that 'bare with me' would mean invitation to go naked!
Dunno about other folk but I get confused distinguishing between effect and affect. One would have thought that, at my age, I'd have that off pat by now.
Stationary and stationery use to give me problems 'til someone told me the "e" in stationery is for "envelope".
The incorrect use of brought and bought annoys me. But I`m easily annoyed.
Pacific where they meant specific.
Complimentary and Complementary is another example. I pointed out to the Adult Ed. College that I work at that they were advertising Complimentary Therapy Courses and not be surprised if people rang up expecting 'freebies'...and someone did!
I also have a friend whose children are always going through a phrase. Now you`ve set me off joko.
We should get up a partition about misuse of words....
Two stand out for me that I see on a regular basis:

Could of done this and could of done that, when it's clearly HAVE.

Difinately when it is DEFINITELY.

Rant over!
Ooh, pacific instead of specific gets me every time.
Question Author
thanks all, some good ones there.

could of/ have, is a very common one though philtaz, and is grammar not confusing words... and the definitely/definately one is the same word, just a mispelling... as is difinately! ;o)

i believe that confusing them is called malapropism...after Mrs. Malaprop - a character in a play who used to do it a lot for comedy porpoises...
but the technical name is homophones
Some words have meanings which are exactly opposite eg
cleave - to split or to unite
dust - to remove dust or to sprinkle
Next time you're dusting your ornaments, use the right definition!
Set a president (unless we're encasing Dubya in cement) :)
Like maggiebee, I am staggered by the number of people who say "loose" when they mean "lose".

I help a lot of computer forums and it is amazing the number of people who say things like "I dont want to loose my data".

And this is often from well educated highly intelligent and technical people.
My ex often used the phrases "Spending money hand over foot" and "In one fowl swoop"!

Homophones and malapropisms are two completely different creatures. A homophone is merely a word which shares the same sound though different spelling as another. A malapropism is the use of a word which vaguely sounds like the word intended, but with a different meaning. One need look no further than Hilda Ogden (pace non-Corrie fans) who proudly referred to her wall decoration as her "muriel".
How about through and threw
or boar, boor and bore

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