Posted in Writing

Confusedly v. Confusingly

When writing anything from a school paper to a full-blown novel, choosing the correct word for a situation may not seem all that important. However, some words are spelled so similarly that they’re easily confused for the other, even though their meanings may be very different. Take “Confusedly” and “Confusingly” as examples.


CONFUSINGLY is verb defined as “to make unclear or indistinct“.

Have you ever talked to a friend and they passionately try to explain their fascination with a subject, but to you it just sounds like gibberish? Although he or she may be talking about something completely factual and correct, you just don’t understand. In other words, they are speaking confusingly.

In layman’s term, if someone says something that you don’t understand because they have thoroughly confused you, then they’re talking confusingly.

Other Examples:

  • Someone is upset and on the verge of hysterics, so their speech is jumbled and not at all coherent.
  • Talking in circles as new thoughts pop into their brain.
  • Someone who is mentally insane and speaks nonsense.
  • Trying to quickly make a point, but actually talking too fast for anyone to understand.

Confusingly can also cover actions. For example, when someone tries to teach you a card trick, but their hands move so quickly that you just can’t keep up. “Well, you just move your finger like so and the card should slide over.” He confusingly switches the deck from hand to hand, somehow mixing them together in the process.


CONFUSEDLY is an adverb defined as “in a confused manner“.

If you are confused, then your actions will reflect that. When you’re confused, your movements are slow and hesitant, you look to others for guidance, or you just stare dumbly until they take pity on you. All of these are examples of confusedly.

Continuing the card example, let’s say you give the card trick a try. It seemed easy enough when your friend did it, but you quickly discover that that’s definitely not the case. You confusedly switch the deck to your other hand, accidentally dropping half of it onto the floor, but try to recover by mixing together the remaining cards. After a few more attempts, you give up in frustration and your friend laughs at you.

More Examples:

  • The girl confusedly tried to copy the teacher’s cursive writing on the board, but the sentence was so sloppy that even she couldn’t read it.
  • After watching the older boys, Jake confusedly tried to copy their skateboard tricks, but ended up with a bruised butt and deflated ego.

Ironically enough, I hope this isn’t too confusing for you to understand. Let me know if there are any other word comparisons you’d like me to do!

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