Commonly confused sound-alike words: Vol. S

Homonyms and close visual resemblances can confound readers and writers. Here’s help in keeping them straight (not strait) at first sight (not site).

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My cumulative list of “words commonly confused” continues with 10 that begin with the letter S. The confusion relates to spelling or meaning.

1. sight/site

Both words function as nouns and verbs.

As a noun, sight is a thing seen.

Example: The Pont du Garde is an astounding sight.

As a verb, sight means “catch sight of something or to take aim.”

Example: The lookout sighted land at dawn.

Example: The surveyor sighted the compass.

Site is from Latin situs: place, position. The principal meaning for Internet users is probably “a Web address.”

Example: Daily Writing Tips is one of my favorite sites.

The context in which site is frequently confused with sight regards physical location.

Examples of correct usage:

2. stationary/stationery

Stationary is an adjective meaning fixed or unmoving.

Example: All of his traffic violations involved stationary vehicles.

Stationery is a noun meaning writing and office materials, especially writing paper and envelopes.

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