Writing Practices: Confusing Words


When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it. Philip Roth

A Quick Vocabulary Booster

Because of the seemingly infinite number of words in the English language, getting definitions and syntax mixed up can be a common problem. Most of us know the difference between “there” “they’re” and “their” but there are plenty of words that can be confused just as easily. For those of you who need a resource for confusing words and how to use them correctly, this article is a great place to start. After all, who doesn’t love a quick vocabulary booster?

Pallet, Palate, and Palette.

Pallet:  A wood, plastic or steel platform used to move objects from one place to another. If made of wood, great for bonfires and Pinterest enthusiasts.
Palate: The ability to taste food and discern flavors; Gordon Ramsay probably has a pretty good one. It’s also the top or roof of your mouth.
Palette: A flat surface artists use for mixing different paints together. Bob Ross has been known to use one on a few occasions.

Hoard and Horde

Hoard:  To collect things in great quantities, sometimes to a fault. Hoarders are often the subjects of reality TV.
Horde:  A large group of people or living things, typically moving around, and often up to no good.

Gourmet and Gourmand

Gourmet: Good food; refined or pleasing to a palate. It’s subjective, but most people know gourmet when they taste it.
Gourmand: Someone who loves eating and often overindulges.  A gourmand person is not necessarily unhealthy or overweight, but they might be someday if they’re not too careful.

Flaunt and Flout

Flaunt:  To boldly show off or display in order to create some sort of reaction, perhaps the admiration of that special someone at the end of the bar.
Flout:  To defy, disregard, or deny.

Effective and Efficient

Effective: Successful in an operation, action, or purpose. It did its job, whatever it is.
Efficient: Productive, smooth, useful, and limited on waste.

Deprecate and Depreciate

Deprecate:  To disapprove of or take a stance against something.
Depreciate:  To decrease the value of something.

Council and Counsel

Council:  An elected or appointed team or group of people determined on make decisions.
Counsel: Advice, help, wisdom, or knowledge bestowed upon someone.

While there are thousands more words that confuse writers and readers alike, these ones may help you with your next writing project. At AMR Global Marketing, we want writers to convey clear messages and use the right words. If you’re looking for next steps in improving your vocabulary, there are plenty of resources available both online and in books. Don’t be afraid to take a few minutes every day and learn something new; whether it’s a new word or an old one you’ve been too afraid to use because of confusion with a similar word.



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Charlie Michener

Charlie Michener, EditorCharlie is an editor who has worked with bestselling authors. Sporting an undeniable passion for writing and editing, he loves helping writers shine. With a bachelor’s degree in English at CSU Channel Islands and a meticulous eye for detail, Charlie believes in keeping the authors voice when polishing their story. Need your work edited? Click here to contact Charlie.

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