More Commonly Misused Words

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Here are a few more words I have seen used incorrectly.


Aggravate, Irritate


Strunk and White states “aggravate” means “to add to an already troublesome or vexing matter or condition.”

Example:

The car bombing aggravated the already tense situation in the war-torn city.


“Irritate” is to annoy or chafe.

Example:

Perpetually late people irritate me.



Allusion, Illusion


“Allusion” means an indirect reference.

Example:

The senate candidate made an allusion to her opponent’s position on taxes.


“Illusion” is an unreal image or false impression, according to Strunk and White.

Example:

Plastic surgery creates the illusion of youth.



Trivia Question Answer

I asked if anyone knew the difference between “homonym” and “homophone” on Monday. Apparently no one does, because there were no comments. That is okay; I had to look it up myself.

“Homonyms” are words that sound and are spelled the same, but have different meaning, such as stalk (a part of a plant) and stalk (to follow someone). Homophones sound the same, but are not spelled the same way.

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