Home » Commonly Confused » Undo, Undue

Undo, Undue

To “undo” is to reverse something that has been done. Most computer software, for example, has an “undo” function to reverse the last thing you’ve done if it turns out not to be what you wanted to do.

“Undue” means “not justified”: “Local news gave the story undue prominence” means that you think the story did not deserve the amount of coverage it got.

In many dialects of American English these two words are pronounced identically, so it is easy to confuse them:

Wrong: It is also good to warn investigators not to let the psychic information become a distraction, or to receive undo attention.

Change it to: It is also good to warn investigators not to let the psychic information become a distraction, or to receive undue attention.

The writer meant unjustified attention.

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