This is part of the dif­fer­ence between series.

Recent­ly, some­one asked me to explain dif­fer­ence between the words ori­ent­ed and ori­en­tat­ed. Here’s the dif­fer­ence between the two.

Actu­al­ly, there is no dif­fer­ence.

Some peo­ple like to insist that ori­en­tate isn’t a real word, and that we should always use ori­ent. In a way, they’re right. Ori­ent is the old­er of the two, being around for near­ly 300 years. That being said, ori­en­tate isn’t that new, hav­ing been around for near­ly 200 years. The ear­li­est occur­rence I could find was from 1849 in The Eccle­si­ol­o­gist, Vol­ume 9, p. 235:

The bish­op and priest being in the apse behind the altar would have been in a great mea­sure cut off from the Litur­gy, if the altar had not been made to ori­en­tate dif­fer­ent­ly from the church. The nat­ur­al way, con­sid­er­ing their local­i­ty, was to ori­en­tate the altar so that the cel­e­brant should stand with his back to them.

But, real­ly, ori­ent and ori­en­tate, as verbs, are syn­ony­mous. How­ev­er, ori­en­tate, for what it’s worth, is more com­mon in British Eng­lish than in Amer­i­can Eng­lish.

Which words do you con­fuse? Let me know in the com­ments below.

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About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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