Words Are Confusing

July 22nd, 2021 in Grammar by April Michelle Davis 0

Words can be confusing. There are thousands of words in the English language, and changing one little letter can completely change the meaning. So learn the meaning of the words that may confuse you:

  • Adverse vs. Averse
  • Uninterested vs. Disinterested
  • Suppose vs. Supposed
  • Oriented vs. Orientated
  • Democratic Party vs. Democrat Party

Let’s discuss adverse and averse. A ‘d’ is the only letter that sets the words apart, but that ‘d’ makes the difference.

Averse refers to having a dislike or opposition and is used when discussing people. For example: The investor was averse to taking risks with his money.

Adverse means that something is unfavorable, harmful, or opposed and refers to things, not people. For example: The vaccine was reported to have many adverse symptoms.


Interested in learning the difference between uninterested and disinterested? It’s easy! Uninterested simply means not interested while disinterested means unbiased.

Sarah was uninterested in watching sports.

The judge’s disinterest in the case allowed her to make a good decision.


Suppose and supposed seem like they would have the same meaning. However, their subtle difference determines their meaning. Suppose is to assume something is true. When someone says: “I suppose…” their words are considered a suggestion. This is different than supposed, which indicates that something is firmly believed, indicated, or required.

For example: A cat is always supposed to land on its feet.

When something is supposed to happen, then we believe that it must come true. When you suppose that something will happen, we think it might happen, but ultimately we aren’t sure.

I suppose that the cat will land on its feet.


Next, let’s learn about oriented and orientated. They sound like they would have different meanings, right? In actuality, oriented and orientated share the same definition. They both mean “align or position something relative to the points of a compass or other specified position.” Position can also refer to circumstances.

Look at how they both work in the same sentence.

I oriented myself toward the direction of the sun and started walking.

I orientated myself toward the direction of the sun and started walking.

We hear constant talk about politics, which can be confusing enough, and similar words with different meanings can make it more confusing. In the United States, we have the Democratic Party. However, this name does not mean that this party is the sole representative of democratic ideology. As a result, some nondemocrats prefer to use the name Democrat Party. In the end, both are referring to the same group of people.


Try It!

Choose which word belongs in each sentence according to its usage.

  1. The poor economy had an _______ effect on the unemployment rate. adverse/averse/either will work
  2. Jamie was completely ________ in math, but she liked English class a lot. uninterested/disinterested/either will work
  3. I ______ I can go apple picking tomorrow. suppose/supposed/either will work
  4. The class was _______ toward students interested into majoring in business. oriented/orientated/either will work


Answer Key: 1. Adverse, 2. Uninterested, 3. Suppose, 4. Either will work