Commonly confused sound-alike words: Vols. E and F

Is it ‘farther’ or ‘further’? Should I use ‘fortuitous’ or ‘fortunate’? A look at word pairs that share pronunciations or linguistic roots, yet have different meanings.

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This post covers words starting with the letters e and f (the a-b list is here, and the c-d one here):

1. economic / economical

These adjectives are related but have distinct meanings. Economic refers to economics or the economy: “Reagan’s economic policies came to be known as ‘Reaganomics.'”

Economical means, “giving good value in relation to the resources used”: “Buying in bulk is an economical way to shop.”

2. ensure / insure

To ensure is to guarantee: “The librarian held his passport to ensure that he would return the book before leaving.”

To insure is to enter into an agreement to assure against future loss: “The Joneses decided to insure their house against flooding as well as fire.”

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