Due to a comment I got on my last Portuguese post (Brazilian Portuguese Badly Said), I decided to write about a few words that are so similar in writing and meaning that they get easily confused. Two words are ones that I actually used in the last post.
Acostamento (shoulder, roadside) – the place where one pulls over
Encostamento – the act or effect of pulling over
* Keep in mind, in the previous post, I mentioned that some people say the second word when they mean to say the first. However, you’ll rarely, if ever, come across the second word when used correctly since it’s almost always used as a verb (encostar) rather than a noun.
Deformação – the process of being deformed
Deformidade – the result of that process
Observação (observation, remark)
Observância (observance, of the law or in a religious context)
The last two sets come from an article at Revista Língua Portuguesa. If we’re listing all words that are similar in writing and/or meaning, we’d be here for a long time. If you’re a stickler for correctness, I suggest one of the “100 erros de português” lists (here’s one, PDF) and using Houaiss as your main Portuguese(-only) dictionary. If you want to test your knowledge of a list like the one I linked to, play this game at level 5!