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In a manner of speaking…


It’s another edition of commonly confused words. This short one will cover four words that sometimes get confused with others including Manner and Manor, and Princes and Princess.


Manner and Manor

These two may be the same in terms of pronunciation, but that’s about it.

manner is a way of doing something. You might have a certain way of driving, or maybe a particular way of walking. A phrase which contains this word is ‘in a manner of speaking’ which basically means ‘in a way’ or ‘so to speak’.

manor is kind of an old word and has a few meanings but they all involve a building. It could mean a main house on an estate, a place of residence for a Lord (Medieval times), or a mansion.

Wayne Manor
Wayne Manor in the Batman series

Let’s and Lets

We touched on this earlier when we were looking at contractions. Both of these are variants of the same verb to let, which means to allow or give permission.

Let’s is a contraction of ‘let us’:

  • Let’s go for a walk
  • Let’s fly to the moon and back
  • Yes, let’s catch up for lunch

Replace the let’s in all of those examples with let us. You’ll find your sentence makes sense.

On the other hand, Lets is a verb form of to let:

  • He lets his dog free in the park
  • It’s got to the point where her dad lets me take her out at night now
  • Oh yeah, my mum lets me stay up late and watch violent movies.

Remember the ‘Lets fly’ image I used earlier (also when we were looking at contractions)? That’s a good example of incorrect usage. If ever you get confused, replace the word with ‘let us’:

  • He let us his dog free in the park.
    This doesn’t make sense so therefore it can’t be let’s and it must be lets.
  • Let us catch up for lunch.
    Yes, that makes perfect sense to me, therefore let’s is correct!

Think of it like our good friend It’s and Its. Let’s and Lets functions in exactly the same way.

Let’s (pardon the pun!) take a look at an incorrect example taken from an email I once received:

Taste Planner

The tool that let us you create? That doesn’t make sense, therefore let’s is not right here.

Heroin and Heroine

Another two words that are pronounced the same.

You probably know what Heroin is. Just watch any movie. Hint: it’s the white powder that’s being smuggled, sometimes across borders. Heroin occasionally makes a special guest appearance on Border Security as well.

Heroine is not as commonly seen these days. A heroine used to mean the female equivalent of a superhero. Think of Wonder Woman. However, with the rise of gender equality and possibly gender neutral words, women superheroes these days are called… You guessed it: superheroes. These days, a heroine refers to the main female character in a story, play or film, etc. It can also mean a woman who has made an impact and is noted as a role model. You could probably go your whole life without even using this word because there are so many other ones you can use. And, like we saw with Fiancé and Fiancée and Confident and Confidant, why have one word for men and another for women? This word may soon be a thing of the past!

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman

Speaking of Wonder Woman, you may also be interested in Woman and Women and Wander and Wonder.

Princes and Princess

These words are commonly confused because they look the same, but once you know the pronunciation, I think it’ll become less confusing.

Princes is the plural of Prince. One prince, two princes, three princes.

A Princess is the female equivalent of a Prince. Think of Princess Elsa or Princess Diana. In terms of pronunciation, Princess is pronounced like Prince but with an -ess at the end, like chess.

The famous Princes Highway is often misspelled as Princess Highway. I’ve even seen a company’s ute that had it spelt this way also which is slightly embarrassing.

See? I wasn’t making it up. I edited out the bad word. Also, note the incorrect way to form a possessive. If our current Premier was called Daniel Andrew, then sure, but his name is actually Daniel Andrews. #failsign
Recap: Apostrophes are used to denote possession.

The correct spelling