Browse Definitions :

Ingenuous or ingenious — what’s the difference?

Writing for Business

Which is correct?
The reason spam continues to make money for the people who send it is that a tiny number of recipients are _________ enough to respond to it. The trick is to send out a large enough volume of spam that if even a tiny fraction of recipients respond, it’s lucrative.
a. ingenuous
b. ingenious

Answer: a

Explanation:
Ingenuous means unworldly and naive, possibly to the extent of being a trifle simple. Other than when the word is mistakenly used instead of ingenious, we mostly hear it in its negative form, disingenuous, which means, essentially to be wily but pretending to be unworldly or lacking in knowledge, usually to serve some underhanded purpose.

Ingenious, on the other hand, means clever, inventive.

Simon Kevin writes about these two in Daily Writing Tips. Here’s an excerpt:

“Sometimes a single letter can make a great deal of difference to the meaning of a word. Take, for example, the two words ingenious and ingenuous. Ingenious means clever, original or inventive. It derives ultimately from the Latin word ingenium, which means a natural capacity or talent. It’s the same word from which engine, among other words, derives.”

 Follow us on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

Dig Deeper on Writing for Business

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • hot plugging

    Hot plugging is the addition of a component to a running computer system without significant interruption to the operation of the...

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

Close