Misused Words That Begin with the Letter C

Misused Words
That Begin with the Letter C

Cain’t vs. Cant vs. Can’t

Cain’t is a nonstandard word for can’t.

Cant usually means a slope or slant. 

The cant of the building was so bad that we had to rebuild the foundation.

Can’t is a contraction of cannot. Usually use cannot.

I can’t believe she was elected prom queen.

Cannot vs. Can Not

Can not is a misspelling for cannot. 

Canvas vs. Canvass

Canvas is a tough, strong fabric.

We bought a canvas top for our boat.

Canvass means to get people’s support. It is often used with sending volunteers door-to-door.

The campaign manager said to canvass the neighborhoods on the east side of town.

Cloth vs. Clothe vs. Clothes

Cloth refers to fabric. The plural is cloths.

Jonica bought several yards of cloth so she could make new dresses.
Kitchen cloths always come in handy.

Clothe refers to putting on clothes. We usually use dressed.

The undertaker clothed the corpse in a blue business suit.

Clothes refers to things we wear.

Basra spends so much on clothes that she has trouble paying her rent.

Complementary vs. Complimentary

Complementary means “to go together well.” 

Good writing skills and good speaking skills are complementary traits that especially help businesspeople.

Complimentary refers to praise or a free gift, usually by a store.  The usual noun is compliment. The verb is to compliment.

Jane complimented me on my tie.
I received a complimentary gift of a coffee pot from Walmart.

Contiguous vs. Continental

Contiguous means “touching.”

Alaska is not one of the contiguous states.

Continental refers to something on the same continent.

Alaska is one of the continental states. Only Hawaii is not a continental state.

Continual vs. Continuous

Continual refers to events happening rapidly but with breaks.

The continual shelling by the Germans was driving the British crazy.  Between bombardments, the British barely had time to eat and use the latrine.

Continuous refers to uninterrupted events.

The continuous shelling by the Germans kept the British pinned down.

Contingent vs. Contingency

Contingent is a group. It also means “depending on.”

The Bolivian contingent met the Secretary of State at the airport.
We will arrive in Brussels tomorrow, contingent upon the weather.

Contingency refers to a possible event. 

Going climbing, we prepare for every contingency we can think of.

Individual or Small Group Activity







Individual or Small Group Activity

Complete the exercises:     Iowa

Optional Activity