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Similar Sounding Words Part 02

Excited Vs Exited

A lot of people get so excited when they’re typing that they mistakenly write they are “exited,” and their spelling checkers don’t tell them they’ve made an error because “exited” is actually a word, meaning “went out of an exit.” Excitement makes you excited.

Install Vs Instill

People conjure up visions of themselves as upgradable robots when they write things like “My Aunt Tillie tried to install the spirit of giving in my heart.” The word they are searching for is “instill.” You install equipment, you instill feelings or attitudes.

Lesson Vs Lessen

Although not many people try to teach someone a “lessen,”
many people try to “lesson” their risks by taking precautions.
“Lessen” is something you do—a verb—and means to make smaller. “Lesson” is a noun, something you learn or teach. Remember this lesson and it will lessen your chances of making a mistake.

Minor Vs Miner

Children are minors, but unless they are violating child-labor laws, those who work in mines are miners.

Comma Vs Coma

Some people write of patients languishing in a comma, and others refer to inserting a coma into a sentence. A long-term unconscious state is a coma; the punctuation mark is a comma.

Piece vs Peace

It’s hard to believe many people really confuse the meaning of these words, but the spellings are frequently swapped, probably out of sheer carelessness. “Piece” has the word “pie” buried in it, which should remind you of the familiar phrase, “a piece of pie.” You can meditate to find peace of mind, or you can get angry and give someone a piece of your mind. Classical scholars will note that pax is the Latin word for peace, suggesting the need for an “A” in the latter word.

Pray Vs Prey

If you want a miracle, pray to God. If you’re a criminal you prey on your victims. Incidentally, it’s “praying mantis,” not “preying mantis.” The insect holds its forefeet in a position suggesting prayer.

Undue Vs Undo

The verb “undo” is the opposite of “do.” You undo your typing errors on a computer or undo your shoelaces to go wading.

The adjective “undue” is the opposite of “due” and means “unwarranted” or “improper.” It is used in phrases like “undue influence,” “undue burdens,” and “undue expense.”

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