Posted by: Jack Henry | March 6, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Frequently Confused Couples, Part 2

Today I have a few more word pairs that are often confused and misused. The original list is from Daily Writing Tips; the examples are from me.

Something that has melted has, often because of heat, changed from a solid state to a liquid state; something that is molten is presently in a liquid state due to melting. The connotation is of extremely hot liquid, such as steel or lava, and the term also refers figuratively to a glowing quality.

· Mandy attacked the triple-scoop ice cream cone with such fervor, she knocked the top two scoops to the ground and they melted in the hot summer sun. (Then she cried childishly, the tears melting the remaining scoop on the cone. Big baby!)

· The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has been pouring molten lava into the ocean since the early 1980s.

Someone who is misinformed has received erroneous information, whereas someone who is uninformed lacks information.

· The devious travel agent intentionally misinformed his clients by telling them that “the happiest place on earth” was Fargo, North Dakota—not Disneyland.

· Debbie did not read the crime statistics on Barcelona before her cruise ship docked; thus uninformed, her purse was stolen within her first twenty minutes on land.

Someone or something that is nauseating causes nausea; someone experiencing nausea is nauseous. This distinction is often not observed in colloquial writing, but careful writers maintain it.

· The smell of fish, eggs, or broccoli early in the morning can be nauseating.

· Joanie said she was nauseous for three months straight when she was pregnant with her son.

Here are a few pets and their owners who are sometimes confused, too:

Photos from

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

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