Wrong Word Wednesday #17

Every week I will demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the one intended. Sometimes this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence. Unfortunately, the mistake is usually so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television

Amused / Bemused

I was surprised at this one because I thought everybody knew the difference but sure enough, looking at various linguistic sites, mixing the two up is far more common than it ought to be. They mean different things but can often appear in sentences with similar contexts. So in that respect perhaps it is understandable.

Amused – Entertained

Bemused – Confused or puzzled

Take the sentence: “I was amused to hear he had resigned”. This is linguistically correct. If somebody was useless at their job and suddenly resigned, you might be amused.

“I was bemused to hear he had resigned”. Again, linguistically correct but it means almost the opposite of the above sentence. You are surprised, shocked even to hear that he has resigned.


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