Commonly confused sound-alike words: Vol. N-P

This batch includes verbal cousins and homophones. Some people misspeak and use the wrong option; in other cases, the written form reveals the error.

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My cumulative list of words commonly confused continues with 10 pairs or trios that begin with the letters N through P. The confusion relates to spelling or meaning.

1. nutritional/nutritious

The adjective nutritional means, “related to the process of nutrition,” that is, using food to support life.

Example: The nutritional value of one egg is the equivalent of one ounce of meat.

The adjective nutritious means “nourishing or healthy to eat.” Example: A nutritious breakfast can help prevent overeating and snacking later in the day.

2. noisome/noisy

The adjective noisome means, “offensive to the smell or other senses.”

Example: I was repelled by the noisome smell that accompanied the speaker back from the smoking area.

The adjective noisy means, “characterized by the presence of noise.”

Example: Many writers find it difficult to work in a noisy environment.

3. observance/observation

The performance of a customary rite is an observance.

Example: The observance of Memorial Day includes military parades and the placing of flowers on graves.

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