Resolving to Stop These Errors

Happy New Year!

We’re a full week into 2023 now (thanks to the observed holiday falling on our usual blog launch date), but it will be months before I stop accidentally writing 2022. A few years ago, I accidentally wrote 1994.


Nevertheless, I’m not the only one making mistakes around here.

That’s right, we’re kicking off the new year with yet another list of mistaken/confused words. As a reminder, these examples have all been found in proposals coming through the CCS. You can find the past lists here, here and here.

The latest top 10 wording errors

1. Negation/Negotiation

  • Negation (noun) means the contradiction/denial of something. There should be negation of the findings.
  • Negotiation (noun) means discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. The contract is under negotiation.

2. Pier/Peer

  • Pier (noun) is a platform leading out from the shore to a body of water. Tie the boat to the pier.
  • Peer as a noun means a friend and as a verb means to look. A jury of his peers. They peered through the window.

3. Melody/Medley

  • Melody (noun) means a sequence of musical notes. This song has a beautiful melody.
  • Medley (noun) means varied mixture of people/things. They’re serving a fruit medley.

4. Waffling/Wafting

  • Waffling (verb) means failing to make up your mind. He’s waffling over where to eat dinner.
  • Wafting (verb) means to pass through the air. The aroma wafting in the air made us hungrier.

5. Intension/Intention

  • Intension (noun) is the internal content of a concept. The intension of “cat” includes being furry, having whiskers, meowing, etc.
  • Intention (noun) is an aim or plan. She was full of good intentions.

6. Digression/Discretion

  • Digression (noun) means a temporary departure from the main topic. After a brief digression, they went back to talking business.
  • Discretion (noun) means the freedom to decide what should be done or the quality of behaving/speaking without offending or revealing private info. Use discretion in the meeting.

7. Illicit/Elicit

  • Illicit (adjective) means forbidden by law/rules. They found illicit drugs on his person.
  • Elicit (verb) means to evoke or draw out a response. The defendant tried to elicit sympathy.

8. Council/Counsel

  • Council (noun) is a group formed to manage a department or decision. The council met monthly.
  • Counsel (noun) is advice or a lawyer conducting a case. She should seek legal counsel.

9. Descent/Decent

  • Descent (noun) is the action of moving downward. The plane began its descent.
  • Decent (adjective) is an acceptable standard. She was a decent person.

10. Home/Hone

  • Home (as it is confused, verb) means to move or be aimed toward with great accuracy. The missile homed in on its target.
  • Hone (verb) means to smooth/sharpen or refine/perfect. She honed her skills.

If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution still, avoid these silly mistakes and let’s make it a new happy year!

Don’t be sad. We’ll be back on the first Monday next month with a new blog post. If you can’t wait that long – whether because you have a topic you’d love us to cover, a question or you simply want to throw your two cents into the pot – we love talkin’ shop, so drop us a line.

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