The Difference Between Cite, Sight and Site

If you are like most people, you have likely confused the words site, cite and sight at one time or another. These homophones sound exactly the same when pronounced yet each has its own unique meaning and spelling. Let’s take a look at the meaning of each of these words to ensure readers use each in the proper context when e-mailing, texting and writing.


To cite something is to refer to it. As an example, one can cite a passage in the bible, a scholarly work or an author. Academic papers commonly cite numerous books, websites, speakers and other sources of information. Cite can also mean to mention something in support of one’s opinion or idea outside of an academic context. Furthermore, this word can be used to refer to the issuance of a notice of violation. As an example, a police officer can cite a driver for driving at a rate of speed above the posted speed limit. Another example is a summons that cites a defendant in lawsuit. Once cited, the individual in question is summoned for appearance in front of an authority such as a judge in court.


When the word “site” is used as a noun, it refers to a place where something exists or has occurred. As an example, historic battle sites are common locations for tourists to visit. A site can also be an area where something will be, has been or is located. For example, history buffs enjoy visiting sites like the Washington Monument. “Site” is also a commonly used term for internet websites. Most people refer to websites in this shortened form (“sites”) as it requires less effort to speak, type and write. There are numerous variations of this word that typically involve the addition of a prefix to words. An example is the word “campsite”. Finally, site can be used as a verb. As an example, supplies can be sited near the water. Another example of site’s use as a verb is a local government siting a space as a commercial zone.


Sight means the ability to see. It is one of the five senses. Here is an example of a sentence in which the word “sight” is properly used: The old man gradually lost his sight as he got older. This word can also mean something or someone that is seen by another. As an example, one can describe a rainbow as a gorgeous sight. The word “sight” can also be used in the context of an interesting or famous place. People commonly reference the “sights” in big cities like Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles etc. These “sights” are not to be confused with “sites”. Sites are a reference to places where important happenings occurred.

Additional meanings of sight include perception with one’s eyes and a device that aids eyes. For example, guns are commonly built with sights to assist the shooter’s vision when attempting to pinpoint his target. An array of popular idioms and phrases using the word “sight” are used with regularity. Examples include “out of sight, out of mind”, “set your sights” and “a sight for sore eyes”.

How to Remember the Differences Between Cite, Site and Sight

Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks to help you distinguish these homophones from one another. Try to think of “cite” as short form for “citation”. Associate the word “site” to “website”. Though the word’s meaning extends beyond websites, websites are places people can go and visit just like every other type of “site”. Finally, think of the word “light” when trying to remember the meaning of the word “sight”. Light is necessary for sight.

10 Words People Love To Mispronounce

One of the longest running jokes leads back to the old comic book character, Popeye. He used to say, “muscles” with a hard “k” and not a “c.” He also did it with the word “mispronunciation” and basically said it like this “mispronunSKIation.” It’s funny that Popeye was saying that specific word wrong, don’t you think? Word pronunciation can be truly be humorous at times in a very fun way.

People do mispronounce words incorrectly all the time. Sometimes it’s an accent or regional thing, while other times it’s simply because the English language is just so complex to master that people get confused. They learn words incorrectly and just keep saying them over and over again, without thinking much about it. Realizing you are saying a word wrong can be embarrassing, which is probably why people don’t point it out to other people more often.

Here are 10 words people love to mispronounce.

10. Often

Correctly this word should be pronounced with a silent “t.” Many people don’t say it that way though and it has been debated over the ages for awhile now. The word comes from “oft” in Middle English, but when the “en” was added in the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth herself didn’t pronounce the “t.” That is why it’s most commonly thought to be the correct pronunciation without it.

9. Acai

This is a superfood berry that’s added to many smoothies and health foods. When you say acai, it shouldn’t be ah-SIGH berries, but ah-sigh-EE with more of an emphasis on the end syllable for the correct way to say this truly three syllable word. Don’t let the guy at the smoothie shop laugh at you anymore when you order your acai berry drink.

8. Mischievous

MIS-cha-vous is the correct way on this word, but many people love to say it with a CHEE in there, as in Mis-CHEE-vee-us. Doesn’t it sound more naughty the wrong way? Maybe so. But don’t make swiss cheese out of this word. Get rid of the “chee” once and for all please.

7. Applicable

There isn’t a “k” in this word, but that doesn’t stop some people from saying a-PLICK-able. To correctly say this word, stress the first syllable APP-lic-able. Otherwise you are applying the use of this adjective the wrong way in your speech.

6. Espresso

There isn’t an “x” in the word, so why do so many people say it that way? It’s es-press-OH. Say it with me, es-press-OH. Es-press-OH. Es-press-OH. Repetition helps with pronunciation, right? Next time you order one, your barista at Starbucks will be impressed. Or not. They don’t really care.

5. February

Don’t drop the “r.” You have to say the r in the word even though it’s a bit of a mouthful, February, to say it correctly. It should sound like FEB-ru-ar-ee.

4. Irregardless

This isn’t even a word. Just stop saying it. It’s just regardless. Period. End of story. So many people just love saying this word that it’s almost become an epidemic of wrongness.

3. Jewelry

Some people say it JOO-la-ree, but really it should be said JOOL-ree. You don’t want to add an extra “a” in there, because it just sounds ridiculous to make it a three syllable word, when in actuality jewelry only has two.

2. Imparticular

Also not a word. It’s two words, in particular. There isn’t even a “m” involved at all! Why in the world are people making up new words? Just by accident really, because the fact is that people sometimes get lazy with their speech.

1: Gala

This is one of our favorite words on the list. The correct way is GAY-luh, not Gal-uh. You would think there would be a “y” in the word, but considering it comes from the old 1600s French word “gale,” as in merriment or pleasure, there isn’t a “y” in sigh. It’s just said like there is with the proper pronunciation.

Immigrant Vs. Expatriate

If you’ve ever used the term immigrant rather than expatriate or vice versa, have you ever thought about why you chose one over the other? Perhaps there are subtle distinctions between the two that you’re unaware of, or maybe you just have your own associations with what each one means. Words have an incredible amount of power, so it helps to understand the literal definition as much as you understand the contextual one.

There’s No Difference — Definition-Wise

That’s right, both expatriate and immigrant mean the same thing. Maybe their definitions aren’t word-for-word: a person who lives outside their native country VS. a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country. However, it would be difficult to argue that there’s any real difference here besides the spelling of each word. Some people think that the word expatriate refers to a person who has a vague notion of returning to their country of origin at some point, but there’s little dictionary evidence to support that this is the right way to use the word. Of course, in real life, words are sometimes corrupted by the public regardless of their actual meaning.

How Immigrant and Expatriate are Usually Used

For the most part, people tend to use the word immigrant to describe those who have fled their country in order to find new opportunities for themselves and their families. The word expatriate is more likely to describe someone who has left an already wealthy and stable country in order to take on a new role in their life. Usually, it’s a professional role in a different wealthy and stable country, but not always. Those who are indefinitely in the Peace Corps may be called an expatriate regardless of which country they choose to perform service in. It has come under some amount of scrutiny that people tend to use word expatriate to refer to those of European descent while they use immigrant for those of color.

Possible Ramifications

The end result of how these two words are used is that people may view immigrants as those to be scorned or pitied, while expatriates are accepted members of a community who should be respected. But this over-simplification can lead to real confusion. For example, high-ranking African professionals are almost exclusively called immigrants no matter their station. By lumping everyone together, the public doesn’t get a chance to see the real similarities and differences that lie between individuals. Just the connotation of these two words can drastically alter a person’s opinion — even if they don’t realize it. After all, both sets of people are battling many of the same hardships of trying to adjust to another country.

Navigating a Minefield

Finding out about words should be a fun journey, but it can sometimes take you down a more enlightened path too. Words can be used in a political way as much as they’re used to clarify a situation. Immigrant today may feel like an emotionally charged word no matter who you mention it to, especially considering all the recent arguments about the state of the world. It can make people shy away from even using the term because they don’t want to spark any arguments.

If you want to be both accurate and fair to all of the people who choose to leave their country for any reason, you may just want to pick one word and use it exclusively for everyone. You can even clarify what you mean when you talk to someone. Let them know that for all intents and purposes they’re the same word, but that you’re choosing to use one over the other for the sake of conversation. It will help you view things differently, and may just help those you speak to do the same.