Conversation vs conservation

  • Conversation and conservation are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often confused in usage. Two words or more than two words may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure for learning commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables conversation and conservation, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.


    A conversation is a dialogue or discussion between two or more people. A conversation is an informal exchange; information and ideas are expressed in a friendly, non-confrontational manner. The word conversation is derived from the Latin word, conversationem, which means to frequent or to keep company. The verb form is converse; related words are converses, conversed, conversing.


    Conservation means the preservation and protection of natural resources such as wildlife, plants, habitat, and historical sites. Conservation may also mean the preservation of historical artifacts or art. Conservation may also mean using resources wisely to mitigate waste. The word conservation is derived from the Latin word, conservationem, which means to preserve or keep. The verb form is conserve; related words are conserves, conserved, conserving.


    Many local organizations, and conservation programs across the archipelago seek to help protect native species, educate about them, and monitor for new invasive and introduced species. (Manoa Now)

    A leading US conservation group, the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS), has announced it will change its name, due to the “pain” caused by the 19th-century ornithologist and slaveholder John James Audubon. (Guardian)

    The conversation about mental health was a hard one for viewers to hear as the player discussed his difficult battle with anxiety, literacy and mental health. (Irish Post)

    On Tuesday afternoon, international experts on policy in Afghanistan gathered for a virtual conversation about the future of the nation’s reconstruction and ongoing humanitarian challenges. (Yale Daily News)

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