"Exorcise" or "Exercise"?

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

"Exorcise" or "Exercise"?

A reader wondered whether she gets “exercised” or “exorcised” when she becomes upset about something. She can imagine a logical argument for either one.

Exorcisms are limited to evil spirits. The word “exorcise” comes from a Greek work for “oath,” so think of swearing an oath to get rid of an evil spirit, and in your mind, link the “o” from “oath” to the idea that “exorcise” is spelled with an “o.”

Exercising is for all kinds of mind and body activities:

  •     Sir Fragalot exercises on horseback.

  •     Squiggly became exercised [upset] when he learned the peeves escaped.

  •     Aardvark wanted to exercise their right to form a posse.

  •     Grammar Girl urged them all to exercise good judgment.


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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.