“Amused” and “bemused.”

This week we take a look at a couple of words that frequently get misused:  amuse and bemuse.

“Bemuse” means (1) to make confused, muddled, or bewildered, or (2) to plunge into thought.  “Amuse” means to entertain or to cause laughter.

The problem is that some writers mistakenly use “bemuse” when they mean “amuse.”  For example, suppose someone wrote “Jerry Lewis’s movies bemused the French.”  Although the Scribe finds Jerry Lewis’s comedy to be bemusing, that’s probably not what the writer really meant in that sentence—where the writer likely meant that Jerry Lewis entertained the French.  So be careful to distinguish between these words and choose the one that fits.  

That is all for now …

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