Is it "appraise" or "apprise"? "Adverse" or "averse"? Beware these words

How to distinguish the words you want from their doppelgangers.

How to distinguish the words you want from their doppelgangers

In Teutonic folklore everybody has a doppelganger, or “phantom double,” to confuse and make mischief for him. Many words, or pairs of words, act as doppelgangers to each other. When they are misused or misspelled, it is most often under the shadows cast by their phantom doubles.

Here are some of these reciprocally haunted pairings, with suggested memory aids to distinguish the words you want from their ghosts.

Adverse and averse. Adverse means contrary or opposed. It can describe an idea or trend or development, never a person. Averse literally means turning away, feeling distaste or repugnance.

Memory said: “My views are often adverse to those of my wife—but I am anything but averse to her!”

Affect and effect. To affect is to change, modify, influence, or act upon. To effect is to accomplish, do, make effectual.

Memory aid: “To affect is to have an effect upon.”

Appraise and apprise. To appraise is to size up or evaluate. To apprise is to inform.

Memory aid: “We have been apprised of your appraisal. “

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