Special Report

Words People Get Wrong All the Time

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42. Precede and Proceed

These words are pronounced differently but are sometimes confused. Precede means to go before, while proceed means to go forward. Those definitions sound similar so proceed with caution!

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43. Premier and Premiere

As an adjective, premier means first or most prominent. As a noun, it can be a synonym for prime minister. A premiere is the first time a movie or play is shown. A premier could attend a premiere.

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44. Prescribe and Proscribe

These look-alike words can have opposite meanings. To prescribe means to order or recommend something, as doctors might do. To proscribe means to forbid something, as dictators might do.

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45. Principle and Principal

A principle is a fundamental idea or rule, such as a principle of justice. Principal as an adjective means the most important as in, the principal principle. Principal as a noun means the head of an organization or institution, such as a company or school. The principal should be principled.

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46. Rain and Rein and Reign

These words are sometimes mixed up. Rain falls from the sky; a rein is used to control a horse; and a monarch reigns over a country.

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