Are You Aggravated or Irritated? There IS a difference

 What an honor to be on campus at Mississippi College School of Law for in-person speaking event #1 of the year! Ellen Robb organized two days of learning for law students, who heard from inspiring leaders in their chosen profession.

They heard from a résumé expert, an attorney who discussed appropriate attire, and state senators and representatives who detailed many options upon graduation. On Day 2 we presented Write It So They Read It, and this pop quiz question raised a lot of discussion among the audience. Just for fun, see how you do:


Jay was (aggravated, irritated) by label warnings that drinking coffee would (aggravate, irritate) his ulcer.


Scroll for the correct answers:








Jay was IRRITATED by label warnings that drinking coffee would AGGRAVATE his ulcer.


Technically, aggravate and irritate are not truly synonymous. To test to see if you are using the correct one, substitute annoy for irritate and worsen for aggravate. To aggravate something means to worsen it, so if that doesn’t make sense when you substitute it in your sentence, then aggravate is not the correct word.


I hope this pop quiz question didn’t IRRITATE you too much.





To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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Photo by Alexander Dummer