Dogged vs dodged

  • Dogged and dodged 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 misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common 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, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. 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 that have a different meaning from one another 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 to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. 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 dogged and dodged, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.


    Dogged may be used as an adjective to mean determined or persistent. Related words are doggedly, doggedness. Dogged may also be used as the past tense of the verb to dog, meaning to pursue or follow relentlessly. Related words are dog, dogs, dogging. The word dogged came into use in the mid-1700s and is derived from the Old English word, docga.


    Dodged is the past tense of the verb to dodge, which means to move quickly to avoid something or to get out of the way in either a physical or figurative sense. One may dodge his taxes, which means he doesn’t pay his taxes, or one may dodge a ball thrown in his direction. Related words are dodge, dodges, dodging.


    Outgoing Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Frances Adamson has described China as ‘dogged by insecurity’, warning that this insecurity can be volatile. (The Mandarin)

    Renton’s sincerity and dogged persistence in combing through the historical record inform this unflinching look at how the “history of Britain and slavery” provided the “foundation of [Renton’s] comfortable, liberal life.” (Publishers Weekly)

    National leader Judith Collins believes the party has “dodged a very big bullet” by not having former Upper Harbour candidate Jake Bezzant as an MP. (New Zealand Herald)

    After a campaign that largely steered clear of race, Obama, during his eight years in office, took up the tactic of his predecessors who dodged race. (Time Magazine)

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