R

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  • Rack vs. wrackRack: to torture. Wrack: 1. to wreck; 2. wreckage.
  • Racket vs. racquetRacket is the usual spelling, and racquet is mainly confined to contexts involving racquetball and squash.
  • Radicalfavoring revolutionary changes.
  • Raison d'etrea reason for existence.
  • Rancor vs. rancour
  • Rappel vs. repelRepel: 1. to ward off or drive back; 2. to cause aversion or distaste; 3. to present an opposing force. Rappel: to descend a vertical surface by sliding down a rope with a device that provides friction.
  • Rapt vs. wraptRapt: deeply engrossed. Wrapt: an archaic past participle of wrap.
  • Raring toextremely eager (to do something).
  • Ravaging vs. ravishingRavaging: the inflected form of ravage. Ravishing: very attractive.
  • Re-create vs. recreateThe hyphen is useful for avoiding confusion, but it is usually omitted.
  • Reactionary vs. reactiveReactionary: very politically conservative. Reactive: 1. tending to react; 2. characterized by reaction.
  • Real-time vs. real timeReal-time (or realtime is an adjective. Real time is a noun phrase.
  • Realise vs. realizerealize in the U.S.; both spellings are common and considered standard outside the U.S.
  • Reappropriate1. to appropriate again; 2. to appropriate something negative and make it positive.
  • Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic
  • Recent vs. resentRecent = occurring soon before the present. Resent = to feel bitter toward or aggrieved at.
  • Recur vs. reoccurSomething that recurs happens repeatedly, perhaps at regular intervals. Something that reoccurs happens again, but not necessarily repeatedly or at regular intervals.
  • Red herring1. a piece of information meant to mislead investigators; 2. a lead that turns out to be false; 3. something that diverts attention from the main issue.
  • Red tapeinefficient bureaucratic rules and procedures that prevent timely action.
  • Regard vs. regardsThe traditional distinction holds that the singular form is correct in phrases like with regard to, while regards refers to good wishes, affection, etc. But the plural form is commonly used in phrases like with regards to.
  • Regime vs. regimenRegimen: a systematic approach to diet, medicine, or exercise. Regime: 1. regimen; 2. a form of government; 3. a government in power.
  • Regrettable vs. regretfulRegrettable: causing regret or worthy of causing regret. Regretful: full of regret or expressing regret.
  • Rejig vs. rejigger
  • Relevance vs. relevancyRelevancy is the original, but relevance is now preferred by a large margin.
  • Remunerate vs. renumerateRemunerate: to pay for goods, services, or losses. Renumerate is a misspelling.
  • Repel vs. repulseBoth mean to ward off or keep away, but repulse usually refers to physical actions, while repel is more likely to be used figuratively or to denote emotional states.
  • Resilience vs. resiliencyResiliency is the more common form.
  • Respective, respectivelyThey often add nothing.
  • Restaurateur vs. restauranteurRestaurateur is generally considered the only correct spelling.
  • Restrictive and nonrestrictive
  • RetardIt is often considered offensive as a noun, though it's participle, retarded, does occasionally appear in medical contexts.
  • Retch vs. wretchA wretch is an unhappy or unfortunate person. To retch is to vomit, to try to vomit, or to clear the throat.
  • Review vs. revueRevue: a form of light entertainment. Review also bears this definition along with its others.
  • RiddedRid is uninflected.
  • Rife vs. ripeRife: abundant. Ripe: 1. fully mature; 2. fully prepared to undergo something; 3. smelly.
  • Riff vs. riftRiff: 1. a short, rhythmic phrase played on an instrument, especially in jazz, blues, or rock music; 2. a clever or inventive spoken commentary. Rift: 1. a narrow fissure; 2. a break in friendly relations
  • Riffraffa derogatory term for people the speaker considers socially inferior or undesirable.
  • Right-of-wayIn North America, it's usually hyphenated. Outside North America, it is not.
  • RightenRight works as a verb, so righten is superfluous.
  • Ring vs. wringWring: to twist, squeeze, or clasp firmly, especially to extract liquid. It's the spelling in wring one's neck.
  • Rivaled/rivaling vs. rivalled/rivallingrivaled and rivaling in the U.S.; rivalled and rivalling everywhere else.
  • Rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock'n'roll, etc.Rock 'n' roll is the most common spelling.
  • Rogue vs. rougeRogue: 1. a scoundrel; 2. a vicious or solitary animal; 3. a fraudulent piece of software. Rouge: a pinkish color or a reddish powder.
  • Role vs. rollRole: a function or a part played in a performance. Roll: 1. to move by turning over; 2. to recur; 3. a list of names; 4. a deep rumble; 5. a rapid succession of short sounds; 6. a scrolled piece of paper.
  • Rollout vs. roll outRollout: noun and adjective. Roll out: verb.
  • Rollover vs. roll overRollover: noun and adjective. Roll over: verb.
  • Roofs vs. roovesRoofs is the standard plural.
  • Root vs. route vs. routRoot: the underground portion of a plant. Route: a line of travel. Rout: an overwhelming defeat or a disorderly retreat.
  • Rubenesquefull-figured, round, or plump.
  • Rule of thumba general rule. The idiom is not inherently offensive.
  • Rumor vs. rumourrumor in the U.S.; rumour everywhere else.
  • Run-on sentences
  • Runaway vs. run awayone word as an adjective or noun; two words as a verb.
  • RésuméThe accents may be doomed, but the safe choice is to include them.

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