Each year, misunderstandings in business communications cost companies thousands of dollars in lost revenue and customers. Many misunderstandings in business communications are caused by the misuse of words that are similar but have totally different meanings. Be aware of these troublemakers, here are a few to watch out for.

Flaunt/Flout: Flout means to mock or insult; Flaunt means to display ostentatiously.

Energize/Enervate: Energize means to impart energy to; Enervate means to deprive of force or strength.

Proscribe/Prescribe: Proscribe means to condemn or denounce; Prescribe means to tell someone what to do, a rule for action.

Waive/Wave: Waive means to remove; Wave means to move someone away.

Elicit/Illicit: Elicit means to draw out or draw forth; Illicit means improper or illegal.

Ingenuous/Ingenious: Ingenuous means open, artlessly frank, candid; Ingenious means possesses genius or unusual mental powers.

Alluding/Eluding: Alluding means to refer to indirectly; Elude means to avoid or evade.

Climatic/Climactic: Climatic refers to weather or to the fundamental concepts of a culture; Climactic refers to a climax.

Disinterested/Uninterested: Disinterested means unbiased, not influenced by personal interests; Uninterested means not caring about, paying no attention.

Comprised/Composed of: Comprised means took in, included, embraced; Composed means went into the making of.

Antagonist/Protagonist: Antagonist means adversary or opponent; Protagonist means main character in a story.

Depreciate/Deprecate: Depreciate belittle or lessen in value; Deprecate means plead against or express disapproval of.

Intimidate/Intimate: Intimidate means to make afraid or deter with threats; Intimate means familiar, close.

Appraised/Apprised: Appraised means to put a price on; Apprised means to inform or notify.

Among/Between: Among in never used in reference to only two; Between can be used for two or more.

Devices/Devises: Device is a mechanical contrivance or gadget; Devise means to scheme or to contrive.

Eminently/Imminently: Eminently means notable or conspicuously; Imminently means very soon, in a short time.

Aggravate/Annoy: Aggravate means to make worse or increase; Annoy means to irritate or vex.

Alluded/Referred: Alluded means to suggest without specifically naming; Referred is to name or identify precisely.

Incredible/Incredulous: Incredible means unbelievable; Incredulous means unbelieving or skeptical.

I hope that helps! What are some other words that cause confusion and/or misunderstanding?

Words Matter

The Copy Crafter!