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10 Commonly Misunderstood Words Infographic

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I’m a lover of words, but sometimes I get words wrong.  You know you do this, too.  That’s why I thought I might share this handy infographic about 10 commonly misunderstood words.  Apparently I have been misusing (or at least, misunderstanding, since I don’t write this word frequently) the word “nonplussed” for quite some time.  Who knew that it actually meant “bewildered”?

Which of these words have you scrambled up in the past?  Which words might you add to this list?  Have you even (gasp) perhaps used one of these words in a mistaken context in your NaNoWriMo manuscript?

10 Commonly Misunderstood Words via

10 Commonly Misunderstood Words via

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About Christi

Writing in SoCal.

29 responses

  1. love this!

  2. Fun list! Thanks for posting! Studio C actually has several comedy sketches on #10 with their character Captain Literally. 🙂

  3. The misuse of literally is one of my pet hates. However, I didn’t know the true meaning of nonplussed and I am sure I have used that wrongly (in speech anyway, I’m not sure it’s a word I’ve written down much).

  4. I used ‘bemused’ wrong in my first book. Luckily my editor caught it. I always assumed it meant ‘amused.’ Lesson learned. 🙂

  5. Nonplussed got me for sure. Thanks for sharing:)

  6. Thanks for sharing. I misunderstood more words than I would have thought. 😉 ~Gail

  7. Hmm, enormity would have done me in if I had used it in a story. I think of “the enormity of the situation” meaning how big/overwhelming it is. But oh how I cringe at the “new” meaning of literally!

    • “Literally” is such a hard habit to break. We have to start somehow introducing appropriate words into kids’ vocabulary to take the place of these misused words.

  8. delightful post. I’ve written about favorite words that I use maybe too often.

  9. Great post. Now I know how to use fulsome. 🙂

  10. Great post. I do this all of the time. Recently, I have used the word horrific to describe something wonderful. Just yesterday, on a mathematician’s blog, I said revolved when I meant rotate, and I really do know the difference. I had a professor once that made a big issue of those two words, and you would think it would have stuck with me. The guy was really nice though, he says, “The images appear to rotate because I have have the apex programmed in the software to be the focal point.” I felt sort of stupid. I try to stay out of math conversations in general, but I thought the rotating geometric form was pretty and I was going to tell him so.

    • I hate when that happens. I certainly mix up words even when I know what they mean. What’s even worse is when autocorrect does this for you, entirely changing the meaning of a sentence. Sometimes the results are hilarious, though. 🙂

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  12. I used fulsome. But when I looked up the synonyms, I discovered the correct usage of it. 🙂 Thanks for this list, Christi.

  13. An interesting post. Enormity and Nonplussed surprised me.

  14. Cool post! “Enormity” surprised me.

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