Confusing, Complicated, Curious Words We All Mix-Up Sometimes: Part 3

By Ash Thoms

Let’s hope that this blog post lets you use some confusing words correctly.

“Let’s” is the contraction, or shortened form, of let us. Let’s go to class; we don’t want to be late (punctuality is cool)! “Lets” is the third-person present form of the verb “to let,” which means to not prevent or forbid. My roommate lets me eat her macaroni and cheese for dinner when she makes it (what an awesome roommate).

I hope as I flesh out these concepts that I also flush out your confusion surrounding some commonly misused words.

“Flesh out” means to add substance to something or make it fuller. I am in the process of fleshing out the plan for this weekend; I’ll let you know when the route for the road trip is set! “Flush out” is to cause something to leave its hiding place. I need to flush out the toxins in my body, so I’m going to do a juice cleanse (FYI: juice cleanses are not worth it, friends).

Maybe you need a break from this post? Maybe you feel as though I should pump the brakes and stop discussing all these confusing words? Lucky for you, we’re only half way through!

“Break,” as used above, is a noun meaning a pause in an activity. I need a break from this semester, despite it not even being half way over (true). “Break” can also be used as a verb, meaning to separate or cause to separate. As it turns out, I can break a metal ruler in half (not true). “Brake” is a device for slowing a moving vehicle. Could you PLEASE use your brakes? The way you drive is terrifying.

The goal of this blog post is to diffuse information among everyone who reads it. However, I hope it also defuses the tension that so many of us feel when thinking about these words.

“Diffuse” is a verb meaning to spread out over a large area or cause to spread widely among a group of people. When you cough, your germs diffuse widely throughout the area in which you are located. “Defuse” means to reduce the danger or tension in something. I had to defuse the tension between my roommate and my sister by doing the dirty dishes.

The end of this blog post is in sight! If you hold on for just a few more words, you’ll be able to exit this site and go back to your day-to-day life. Thankfully, there are no sources to cite at the end of this post, so we’ll be through even faster.

“Sight” means the power of seeing or a thing that can be seen. I saw the sun today after weeks of rain, and what a beautiful sight (it’s raining as I type this)! “Site” is either a website or an area of ground on which something of importance is built. The University Writing Center’s site is a magical piece of the internet. The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction site is later today! “Cite” means to quote something as justification of an argument. Everyone must cite their sources in academic writing (both a fact and an example).

Altogether, we’ve looked at quite the number of confusing words so far! Let’s all together take a deep breath and learn how to use one more pair of words.

“Altogether” means completely, totally, or taken as a whole. Altogether, it’s been a pretty decent week! “All together” means all in one place or group or all at once.  The crowd started running away from stadium all together, celebrating the victory.

Now it’s time to take a break from your computer and take in the sight of whatever is around you. Hopefully the confusion has been flushed out of your brain, the fear of using these words has been defused, and you are able to go forth and conquer your writing goals!

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