Correspondence vs correspondents

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Correspondence and correspondents are two words that are close in spelling and so close in pronunciation that many believe they are homophones. Homophones are words that are pronounced in the same manner, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words correspondence and correspondents, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Correspondence may mean a close connection or similarity between two items or an agreement with someone else or the act of agreeing with someone else. Most often, the word correspondence is used to mean communication through the medium of written letters. Correspondence may also mean the letters themselves. The word correspondence is not used often to mean an exchange of messages through email, though in time it may come to encompass that method of communication. The word correspondence is derived from the Medieval Latin word correspondentia, meaning to reciprocate or harmonize. The first use of the word correspondence to mean exchanging letters occurred in the 1640s. The verb form is correspond, related words are corresponds, corresponded, corresponding.

Correspondents is the plural form of the word correspondent, which may mean someone who communicates by means of letters. A reporter for a news organization is sometimes referred to as a correspondent. Correspondent is derived from the Medieval Latin correspondentem, meaning to reciprocate or harmonize. Do not confuse the word correspondent with the word corespondent. A corespondent, spelled with only one r, is a person named in a divorce lawsuit as a person who committed adultery with one of the marriage partners who are divorcing. This use of the word corespondent came into use in the 1850s. When spelled with a hyphen as in co-respondent, the term means a person who must respond in a legal proceeding.


It named the Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement, as respondent and Wallace, the division’s director, as a co-respondent. (The Sacramento Bee)

As correspondents in the Kremlin–and Russia-watchers the world over–get ready each December for President Vladimir Putin’s end-of-year news conference, there’s one question they always ask: how long will it last? (Forbes)

If Trump hadn’t started a Twitter war with the comedian who hosted this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the changes to the program might have remained buried under layers of “breaking news!” banners and smartphone alerts. (The Los Angeles Times)

The North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a statement Tuesday to clear up confusion regarding its correspondence with drivers after a social media post reported an apparent scam. (The Minot Daily News)

Compassion International has since lost touch with Timothy, but Stafford believes the correspondence had a positive effect on the boy’s life. (The Atlanta Journal Consitution)