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Commonly Confused Words: Dear vs. Deer


What does each word mean?

Dear is a term of endearment used to refer to a beloved person or to show affection to someone.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is dear used in some example sentences:

  • ‘Pass the salt, dear,’ said Timothy to his daughter.
  • Her late aunt was very dear to her.
  • A dear friend recommended this restaurant to me.

Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word dear.

Deer are a type of four-legged hoofed animal, the males of which are known for their branchy antlers.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is deer used in an example sentence:

  • In Christmas stories, Rudolph is a reindeer who is famous for having a shiny red nose.

Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word deer.

Where does each word come from?

Dear has been used in English since the late fourteenth century. It comes from the Old English ‘deore’ meaning ‘precious, valuable, costly, loved, beloved’ which in turn comes from the Proto-Germanic ‘deurjaz’.

Deer comes from the Old English ‘deor’ meaning ‘animal, beast’ from the Proto-Germanic ‘deuzam’.

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between these words?

  • Dear has the word ear in it. Come up with a sentence using both words to help you remember how to spell the word. For example: ‘I’ve bought my dear grandmother earrings for Christmas.’
  • Imagine the two es in deer as a pair of antlers to help you remember how to spell the word.

Where can I find other posts about easy-to-confuse words?

Sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary.


20 Dec 2016
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"This is a fantastic opportunity for our students!  I'm sure Spellzone will be invaluable in helping them to improve their spellings and therefore improve the quality of their writing in all subject areas!"
Teacher, High School, UK

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