Friday, September 5, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (Part 56)

And on we go. Here are some more words to ponder:

Complex vs. complicated

Wrong: Don’t make it sound more complex than it is.

Right: Don’t make it sound more complicated than it is.

Both complex and complicated refer to things that are composed of many parts or are difficult to understand. To a large extent they’re synonyms. But there’s often a subtle difference in how the two words are used. Something that is complex is innately intricate or perplexing. On the other hand, a relatively simple process can be made complicated by poor directions. A nuclear reactor is complex, but trying to herd cats is perhaps more complicated than it is complex. Remember, artful writing is all about nuance.

Intrical vs. integral

Wrong: Clean water is an intrical part of the ecosystem.

Right: Clean water is an integral part of the ecosystem.

Intrical is simply a common misspelling (and mispronunciation) of integral.

More next time. Stay tuned.


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