Commonly Confused Words: Addition vs. Edition

Writers love to play with homophones; for example, consider this sentence: “Charles looked for years to find the perfect addition to his first edition history book collection.” Yes, words that sound alike but are spelled differently can delight readers when they are used playfully. Still, when it comes to writing, the addition vs. edition confusion can accidentally mystify readers. Here are some helpful tips and examples you can use to provide clarity when you write using addition and edition

Addition vs. Edition at a Glance

As with many words in the English language, addition and edition sound similar. That is where the similarity ends because addition vs. edition have entirely different meanings. Here are the basic differences at a glance.

  • Addition is a noun. It can mean calculating a math problem, enlarging an item or increasing something immaterial.
  • Edition is also a noun, but it is used when writing about editing, publishing or broadcasting. 

What’s the Difference Between Addition and Edition?

When you are writing an article about enhancing city salaries, blogging about simple math problems, tweeting about remodeling a home, or discussing merging two items, use addition. In other words, addition is all about uniting one thing with another.

Edition refers to a single printing that differs from another publication and is published at separate times, a specific number of copies issued at the same time or a publication that is altered in some manner to allow for a new item of that work. An edition can also refer to a single unit or be marketed as a set. 

When To Use Addition

The noun addition involves a process or action of adding something to the original item and is typically followed by a single preposition such as “of” or “to.” Although the addition definition is often found when discussing math calculations, the add-on can be to almost anything imaginable. Addition can also be used when two physical items are joined, resulting in an enlargement of the original item or space.

Examples of using addition in a sentence:

  • The city’s addition of 100 buses will guarantee more availability of seating for the daily commute. (imagined joining)
  • Jamie was a welcome addition to the poker game on Friday night because he is wealthy. (tangible to intangible)
  • Research shows that children can quickly learn addition and subtraction by using flashcards. (mathematics)
  • Adelaide’s home renovation included the addition of two new bedrooms and a sun deck. (joining two physical items)

When To Use Edition

The definition of edition shows it is an English noun used in editing, broadcasting or publishing. Edition is used to reference a specific version or publication of a book, article or other text, and the term is generally, but not always, followed by the preposition “of.” Edition is also used to discuss an edited or published document with an anticipated publication date, to denote the total number of available copies of a single publication, to specify a single revision or to talk about a specific news program.

Examples of using edition in a sentence:

  • Andrew Cornwell scoured the used bookstores for a first edition of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” (a limited print date)
  • Lauren preferred the printed weekly edition of the newspaper over the internet version. (a specific weekly publication)
  • To celebrate its 30th-anniversary on-air edition, ABC News held a gathering in Times Square. (aired program)
  • Potter fans anticipate Rawlings’ new limited edition to the Potterverse, even though the book will only be available for 30 days. (single publication with limited-run date)
  • Stephen King’s storylines contain many editorial notes before a television edition can be broadcast. (revisions to original) 

Addition vs. Edition: They Are Commonly Confused

If you are still confused about the homophones addition vs. edition, here is another trick you can use to differentiate the two words: Anytime you want to write about “adding” one thing to another, use addition. If you are writing about news, books or other publications, use edition.

If you have other English words or phrases that confuse you, comment below and let us help you clarify them. We love to come up with interesting examples!

Cara Secrist
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