Misused Words That
Begin with the Letter P
Palate vs. Palette vs. Pallet
The palate is the roof of the mouth. It also refers to someone’s ability to taste.
To say the word the, briefly put your tongue against your palate.
A palette is the little board artists use when painting.
Picasso picked up his palette and began to work.
A pallet is a wooden platform used for shipping. It also refers to a platform for a bed.
The household goods arrived strapped to a dozen pallets.
Past vs. Passed
Past refers to events that have occurred.
We need to study the past to avoid repeating mistakes.
Passed, the past tense for pass, refers to being passed such as by another car. It also refers to laws or bills being voted in.
We passed through the town without realizing we had arrived.
Patience vs. Patients
Patience means to stay calm and wait for something to happen or be resolved.
John lacked the patience needed in business.
Patients refers to people being seen by doctors.
Dr. Teasly saw 27 patients before noon.
Perpetrate vs. Perpetuate
Perpetrate means to cause something.
The school’s policies perpetrated a loss of confidence among students.
Perpetuate means to cause something to continue.
The school administration’s insistence on every student passing perpetuated the problem of graduates not having skills.
Perspective vs. Prospective
Perspective refers to someone’s point of view, or opinion, and to the artistic technique that makes scenes appear “real.”
Joel looked at the world from the perspective of someone who had fought in two major wars.
Prospective refers to what is expected to happen in the future.
The next generation of automobiles will be based on the auto industry’s prospective regarding likely buyer tastes.
Photogenic vs. Photographic
Photogenic refers to how well a person is likely to be photographed.
Successful models are always photogenic.
Photographic refers to anything to do with photography. We usually use photography instead of photographic.
The photographer’s studio included floor-to-ceiling bookshelves of photographic journals.
Pored vs. Poured
Pored means to study intently, especially while reading.
The wizard pored over his books, searching for a cure for the curse.
Poured means to tip a container so that liquid goes onto something. It also is a verb for an instance rainstorm.
Abbie poured herself a large glass of orange juice.
Prescribe vs. Proscribe
To prescribe means to command or recommend something. It is most commonly used for things involving medical needs.
The doctor prescribed rest and a half dozen medicines.
To proscribe means to outlaw a person or activity.
The city council proscribed having vehicles on the beach.
Prevaricate vs. Procrastinate vs. Prognosticate
To prevaricate means to avoid telling the truth.
The president prevaricated regarding the problems in the Middle East.
To procrastinate means to put off things that need doing.
Xaviera procrastinated about writing her paper until the last minute.
To prognosticate means to predict or prophesize.
The oracle prognosticated regarded the upcoming war with the Persians.
Principal vs. Principle
Principal means “main.” The principal is the main person in a school and is your “pal.” It also refers to the balance on a loan.
The principal is Ms. Pimipkin.
Principle refers to a fundamental course of action or moral beliefs.
The principle notion of physics is based on Newton’s three laws.
Socrates stuck to his principles even though doing that cost him his life.
Posterity vs. Prosperity
Posterity refers to future generations.
Abraham’s posterity included the leaders of three of the world’s biggest religions.
Prosperity refers to how well-off people are, especially in terms of money and possessions.
The second half of the 19th century brought the United States great posterity.
Prodigy vs. Progeny
A prodigy is someone (usually a young person) who is incredibly talented or knowledgeable.
Mozart, a prodigy, composed his first symphony when he was eight.
Progeny refers to offspring.
The progeny of John Adams, the second president of the United States, did great things, including also becoming the president.
Individual or Small Group Activity
Individual or Small Group Activity
Complete the exercises: Massachusetts