7 Words You Should Choose Differently Next Time

On April 29, 1852, Peter Mark Roget released a literary landmark for the first time. You may know him as the guy behind Roget's Thesaurus, a book of synonyms, often including related words and antonyms. In short, it's a great tool for helping you find the word that you really want to say.

With that in mind, we found some words that are commonly misused and, using our thesaurus, we replaced them with the words that you really wanted to use.

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What you said: literally

What you really meant to say: figuratively

Literally means without exaggeration. At all. Like it actually happened.

So unless your head was actually removed when you got your "head literally ripped off by an angry customer," or need a life preserver when you're "literally drowning in your own tears," you should probably use "figuratively."

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What you said: ironic

What you really meant to say: unfortunate

Irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. 

The important thing there - opposite of their meaning.

So... a rainy day in the driest month of the year, probably ironic. But rain on your wedding day is not ironic, it's just unfortunate. Sorry Alanis.

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What you said: allusion

What you really meant to say: illusion

No, that ghost you think you saw wasn't an allusion. It was an illusion.

Remember, allusion is an indirect reference to a person, event, or thing. Illusion means a deceptive appearance or a false idea. So, we're alluding to folks with bad grammar when we say their proper word choice is an illusion.

See what we did there?

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What you said: anxious

What you meant to say: eager

Anxiety is a very real part of life and normal as we take on new challenges. But are you apprehensive towards the challenge or just really excited at its promise?

If you're somewhat apprehensive towards this thing, you really are . If you're not, you're just eager

Either way, go get started! 

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What you said: compliment

What you meant to say: complement

When you're offering someone some praise, you're paying someone a .

When you're suggesting someone help make your team perfect, or bring your team to competition, they complement you! 

So are you praising these people for who they are individually, or, well, praising them for what they can bring to a group or package? That one letter makes all the difference.

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What you said: historical

What you meant to say: historic 

This one can be tricky. When you're referring to something , it means it's really important or momentous.

Historical means, simply, anything referring to the past.

So, something can be both historic (if it's a really big deal) and historical (if it happened in the past).

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What you said: indiscrete

What you meant: indiscreet

If you're lacking good judgement, you're being . 

Indiscrete means not separated into distinct parts. 

Unless you're a scientist or technical writer, you're probably not as focused on things that are indiscrete. But if you're you're a regular person who loves celebrities, you're probably very much interested in their indiscretions.

Next: 600 Commonly Confused Words in English