Thursday, October 13, 2011

Roll vs. Role

Roll vs. role.  Everyone screws this up but no one talks about it.  If you haven’t guessed by the way they are spelled, they are two different words with two different meanings.  That seems obvious but many people don’t seem to know this.  It drives me crazy.  Well, more crazy.

A roll is something you eat with dinner.  Or before dinner.  Sometimes you put butter on them.  They can often be delicious.  In this case, roll is a noun.
In a sentence: I’m going to rub butter all over this roll and eat the shit out of it.
Roll is also an action.  It’s what a ball does when you kick it or push it across the ground.  You can roll down a hill.  Here, roll is a verb.
In a sentence: If you roll that ball over here, I’m going to rub butter all over it and eat the shit out of it.
You can also be on a roll.  This is when things have been going your way for a while.  “On a roll” is an idiom.
In a sentence: I’ve eaten six balls in a row and I’m feeling great.  I’m on a roll, baby.

A role is a part in a play or movie or TV show.  Actors play roles.  Roles are not edible, nor are they delicious.  A noun.
In a sentence: Bryan Cranston plays the role of Walter White on the TV show Breaking Bad.  You should watch this show.
A role can also describe a function that a person fulfills on a team or at a job.  Also a noun.
In a sentence: Peyton Manning’s role with the Colts is to basically coach the entire team, which is why I've cried every Sunday this football season.  

Do you see the difference?  It’s a pretty big difference and there really should be no way you could mix up these two words.  Especially now that I’ve explained it to you.  You’re welcome.

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