Writing Tip 5 – 5 Pairs of Words and Their Useful Distinctions

It has been so long since I have posted here, and I truly apologize for my neglect. I’m now going to start posting as often as possible, at least a couple times a month. I thought I would resume my journey on this blog with a question that inspired writing tip number five: Do you really know the difference between these commonly mixed-up words? Improve your diction by learning the difference between the following (five, since this is writing tip number five) pairs of words below.

1. Illegible/Unreadable

These words both describe something that is difficult to read because the text has been damaged or obscured, but unreadable can also refer to the poor quality of the content.

2. Incomparable/Uncomparable

Incomparable: An intensifier to mean that what is being described is so excellent that no other thing can compare

Uncomparable: Something about what is being described prevents it from being compared to anything else

3. Inequality/Inequity 

Inequality: Quantative connotation; except in references to racial/gender discrimination when it means something similar to inequity (see below)

Inequity: An inequality borne of injustice/unfairness

4. Inexplainable/Unexplainable

Tricked you there. These words basically mean the same thing, except that inexplicable has also developed a connotation of an illogial or irrational quality.

5. Valuable/Invaluable

Valuable: Something that has value

Invaluable: Something that has value that, because of its quality or intangible importance, cannot be quantified