Special Report

50 Words People Get Wrong All the Time

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26. Endemic and Epidemic

Endemic means something prevalent in a particular area or among a people, and can refer to plants or animals or something less tangible, such as poverty. An epidemic is a disease that affects a large number of people within a community, population, or region.

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27. Disinterested and Uninterested

These words are often used interchangeably, but disinterested means neutral or not having a stake in the outcome, whereas uninterested means you just don’t care.

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28. Ensure and Insure

To ensure means to make sure something happens; to insure means to cover something with an insurance policy, which almost always means you don’t want it to happen.

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29. Faint and Feint

As a verb, to faint means to pass out, while to feint means to fake something, such as an attack. As an adjective, faint means slight or imperceptible.

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30. Fewer and Less

It’s not a super strict rule, but fewer should be used for things that can be counted, while less should be used for things that can’t be counted or don’t have a plural, like mass nouns such as salt or money. Fewer grammar mistakes mean less embarrassment.

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31. Flaunt and Flout

To flaunt means to show off, whereas to flout means to openly disregard a rule. You could flout convention by flaunting your wealth.