Confusables Galore

Here’s another roundup of doppelganger words that are often confused. I encountered all of these misuses in my routine reading:

• “With flawless, crystalline hindsight, Henry laid out the causes of our present affliction, and prescribed remedies therefore.”

The word therefore means thus; the word wanted here is therefor.

• “There is no shortage of data to support the notion that walking is imminently healthy.”

Perhaps walking helps you right away, but I suspect the writer meant eminently.

• “Of course, even if you use a social phone number, your hidden digits are likely to be announced through caller ID to anyone you deign worthy of calling back.”

The verb deign means condescend; the writer probably meant deem.

• “The dissembling of Malcolm Forbes’s assets culminated in the 2004 sale of nine Faberge imperial Easter eggs for about $100 million.”

To dissemble is to deceive; the writer undoubtedly intended to convey the idea that the estate was broken up or disassembled.

• “There’s no other word than ‘groped’ for having one’s breasts palpitated in public.”

The verb palpitate means tremble or quiver; what the writer meant was palpate, to touch a part of the body, usually for medical purposes.

• “But concerns that the new terms gave Facebook too much leeway with the hoards of data shared by its 175 million users quickly spread….”

The word hoard is a noun or verb meaning stash or cache; a large number or amount is a horde.

[Ed Note: For more than three decades, Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant. He is author of The Versatile Freelancer an e-book recently published by AWAI that shows writers and other creative professionals how to diversify their careers into speaking, consulting, training, and critiquing.]

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