Expend vs expand

Expend and expand are 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 expend and expand, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Expend means to use something or to spend something. Expend is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are expends, expended, expending. The word expend is derived from the Latin word expendere, which means to weigh out money.

Expand means to make something larger, to increase something in size, scope or extent. Expand may also mean to spread out, to stretch out. Finally, expand may mean to elaborate upon a story. Expand is a verb that is derived from the Latin word expandere which means to unfold or to spread out. Related words are expands, expanded, expanding.


Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the state and each political subdivision or governmental entity that conducts or oversees elections in this state shall not accept or expend private, donated funds for registering voters or for preparing for, conducting or overseeing an election. (River Cities’ Reader)

As parents of three teenage daughters, my wife and I expend a lot of our leisure time managing other people’s laundry. (Greeneville Sun)

President Joe Biden on Friday formed a bipartisan commission to study potential U.S. Supreme Court changes including expanding the number of justices beyond the current nine, a goal of some liberal Democrats hoping to end its conservative majority. (Reuters)

Hong Kong health authorities, acting on the advice of experts, have expanded the scope of a partial evacuation at a Tuen Mun housing estate at the centre of a new coronavirus cluster after two more cases were confirmed there on Saturday. (South China Morning Post)

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