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Tail and Tale

Commonly Confused Words


Both a noun and a verb, tail has several meanings, including the rear part of an animal or vehicle. The noun tale refers to a report or story.

See also: "A Misspelled Tail," by Elizabeth T. Corbett


  • "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." (Mark Twain)

  • "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale." (Hans Christian Andersen)

(a) Every Christmas we watch Raymond Briggs's wonderful _____ of a young boy's friendship with a snowman.

(b) A dog wags its _____ with its heart.

Answers to Practice Exercises

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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