Home > Grammar > Do You Disperse—or Disburse?

Do You Disperse—or Disburse?

Being a writer, words have always fascinated me. The other day I ran across a spelling error in a report. I had to double-check it due to the fact that, though instinctively I knew it was wrong, I had never considered the closeness of these two words before.

It was the word disperse, used in connection with the distribution of funds. I crossed it out and wrote disburse—but then the second guessing began! An internet search was in order to back up my correction! (Don’t you just love the internet?!)

What are the differences between these similarly sounding words, between disperse and disburse?

Disperse means: to spread, distribute, or scatter (people, objects–but not money!)

Disburse means: to make a payment (especially from a fund), to distribute (money in particular)

In a nutshell, you can disperse a crowd, booklets, or your vast knowledge (of whatever that may be!)—but not money. If it is money you wish to spread around, you will have to disburse it—and I’m sure you’ll find many people ready to accept it!

Categories: Grammar
  1. September 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm

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