Further Confusing Pairs

I forget where we are in the series. Part 8? Anyway…

One averts one’s gaze from something unpleasant; one adverts (turns one’s attention) to other matters. The two have been confused since the Middle Ages.

My friend Ross Guberman has noted Warren Buffet’s confusion of these two words: the Sage of Omaha wrote to this followers that ‘Investing is an activity in which consumption today is foregone in an attempt to allow greater consumption at a later date’.

A nicely expressed observation, but for the error; Buffet means forgone (‘relinquished’, ‘given up’) not foregone (‘preceding’, as in foregone conclusions or foregoing reasons). Historically, though, the two spellings were more or less interchangeable.

Both have nice past tenses one ought to see more of: for(e)went.

The first is the past tense of the verb to lead (She led an expedition to the South Pole); the second, as a verb, is the infinitive form (to lead) or the present tense in the first or second person (I now lead the derivatives group at my firm or You lead and I follow).

Mistaken use of lead as the past tense of to lead is said to be one of the commonest errors on CVs: http://www.businessinsider.com/common-spelling-mistakes-resume-2017-11

You pedal your bicycle; Donald Trump peddles more fake news than the so-called Fake News he decries.

Someone who pedals is a pedaller (if you’re American, pedaler); who peddles, a pedlar.

I’ve heard these confused, but I don’t think I’ve seen the crime in writing. Yet, anyway.

A tenet is a doctrine or principle; a tenant is a renter of property.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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