More Commonly Misused Words


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.”


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

“Irritate” is to annoy or chafe.


Perpetually late people irritate me.

Allusion, Illusion

“Allusion” means an indirect reference.


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.


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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