Confusing words

Confusing words: A

So many words in the English language get misused or confused, I thought of compiling a series made up of a random choice of word that I’ve seen misused recently, for each letter of the alphabet.

I thought I would apprise you of my idea, dear reader, so that you can appraise it and then I can see whether there’s enough interest to merit an A-Z series (if I can think of that many). Anyway, here’s my random choice for the letter A: appraise/apprise. Commonly confused.

  • Appraise means to evaluate, to assess the value or quality of something, or to set a value on an item. The term appraisal is also commonly used in the sense of a regular review of an employee’s job performance. The word is related to praise.
  • Apprise means to tell or inform, perhaps in a formal sense. You can’t appraise someone of a fact; you can only apprise them of it.

You can read about the difference between appraising and apprising and whole lot more, in the Clifford & Co editorial style guide.