Mixed-up Meanings

  1. “Hispanic” vs. “Latino”: When To Use Each Term

    From boxes on census forms to drop-down menus on job applications, we often see Hispanic and Latino positioned side by side, seemingly as interchangeable terms to describe the race and heritage of a population that makes up nearly 20% of the United States. It’s easy to see why these two words are so often conflated and frequently confused. But Hispanic and Latino are properly used …

  2. What Is The Difference Between “Boarder” vs. “Border”?

    Boarder and border are homophones of each other. But how do you use each word correctly?
  3. Absentee Ballot vs. Mail-In Ballot: Is There A Difference?

    As if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t already challenging enough, the US will be holding a general election in the midst of it. Many people are rightfully concerned that traditional, in-person voting could spread COVID-19, and so some states are changing (or considering changing) their voting rules to make it easier for eligible people to vote by mail. Voting by mail can be done by what’s …

  4. “Then” vs. “Than”: See If You Know The Difference Between Them

    Then and than are among the 100 most frequently used words in the English language. The fact that they’re so common means that they’re also commonly misused! Do you say I will call you no later than 7 pm or then 7 pm? Would you say the company needs a good accountant more than (or then) ever? Some examples are trickier than others, but you can learn to distinguish …

  5. What Is The Difference Between “Weather” vs. “Climate”?

    Although there is a wealth of scientific evidence, the difference between weather and climate can be difficult to understand. But all hope is not lost—we're here to help you learn the difference.
  6. “Capital” vs. “Capitol” : Do You Know Where You’re Going?

    Capital and capitol are both commonly used in political contexts and are separated by just one letter, making them frustratingly easy to confuse. When it comes to these two terms, it’s important to note that one has a number of meanings while the other refers to a certain type of building. What is a capital? Capital has many definitions. It can mean “the wealth owned …

  7. “WikiLeaks” vs. “Wikipedia”: Do You Know The Difference?

    How well do you know your wikis? Maybe you’ve heard about a site that releases classified material from whistle-blowers. Or maybe you’re looking for an up-to-date source of historical dates and biographical information. Do you turn to WikiLeaks? Do you search through Wikipedia? The confusion is all the more understandable given that these two sites even look alike. Well, wonder no more. We’re about to leak you …

  8. What’s The Difference Between “Mistrust” vs. “Distrust”?

    Trust us on this one. There’s only a slight difference between these two. In general, distrust and mistrust are considered synonyms, both based on the word trust (although centuries apart).  As nouns, both words refer to a condition of lacking trust, and are effectively interchangeable. As verbs, well, it’s a bit more complicated, as you’ll see. What’s the origin of trust? The word trust is first …

  9. “Unalienable” vs. “Inalienable”: Is There A Difference?

    It’s safe to say that most of us don’t know the entire Declaration of Independence by heart. However, many of us are familiar enough with the document declaring independence from England to know that at one point, it gets into some inalienable rights that all Americans will have. Or was Thomas Jefferson writing about unalienable rights as he was putting quill to paper? Although these …

  10. “Paradox” vs. “Oxymoron”: How To Tell The (Seemingly Similar) Difference

    When parents become empty nesters after their kids head off to college, they may be surprised by the deafening silence of their home. The emptiness can be bittersweet as mom and dad find themselves alone together. In the above sentences, these parents are dealing with quite a few contradictions. Are these examples of oxymorons or paradoxes? Or, is an oxymoron a synonym for a paradox? Let’s take …