Dear Master’s Programs student,

Hopefully you’ve found our commonly-confused-words series an effective (not affective) way to improve your writing.  Please enjoy our fourth—and penultimate—blog entry on this topic!

Disinterested vs. Uninterested

Disinterested (adj): unbiased, impartial

Uninterested (adj):  bored, unengaged

E.g.  Dina Lohan was dismissed from the jury pool for Lindsay’s DUI case; as the mother of the defendant, Dina could hardly have been disinterested.

E.g. Kim assumed Kanye would be excited to see the ultrasound technician with her, but when she suggested they go together, he seemed totally uninterested.

Stationary vs. Stationeryconfused-words-3

Stationary (adj):  not moving, immobile

Stationery (noun):  paper (and envelopes) for writing letters

E.g.  Although considered stationary before the 16th century, the earth actually moves at 67,000 miles per hour around the sun.

E.g.  When Galileo hypothesized a heliocentric universe, he wrote a letter on his best stationery to tell his friends.

Tip:  Stationery is very papery.

Advice vs. Advise

Advice (noun):  a recommendation or suggestion

Advise (verb):  to give counsel to; to recommend

E.g.  Though she often asks for guidance, Daenerys usually ignores the advice that she receives and follows her own mind in the end.

E.g.  Petyr Baelish advised Lord Stark to trust no one.

Tip:  Remember that advice and ice are both nouns.  [True, “ice” can be a verb as well, but unless you’re a physical therapist, you probably use the noun form much more frequently.]

Council vs. Counsel

Council (noun):  a group of people who give advice, or enact legislation (like a city council)

Counsel (verb):  to recommend a course of action [can also be a noun, meaning “advice.”]

E.g.  The municipal council conspired to supplement their salaries by increasing the number of parking meters.

E.g.  I counseled my friend to put more money in the meter than he needed; Los Angeles meter maids are opportunistic and merciless.

Tip:  Think of a city council.

Thanks for reading.  May this writing advice help you now and in the future!



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