In this series of “Troublesome Pairs” I discuss words which people get easily confused, or where it’s not clear what the difference is between them – if indeed there is a difference. Some of these I find in my work, some out in the world at large, and some are suggested to me by friends, family and colleagues (do get in touch if you have a good one for me that I haven’t written about yet!). Some of the words are homophones (words that sound the same), some just seem to get people confused.
So today we’re looking at upmost and utmost. Words with just one letter different can be easily confused – even more so when they sound very similar. Do you confuse upmost and utmost? Here’s the difference.
Upmost is also spelled uppermost, and that might be the best one to stick with if you do mix these two words up. Uppermost means at the top, the highest in importance or rank or level.
Utmost means most extreme, the greatest amount or extent of something. That doesn’t neccessarily mean the highest of something like upmost.
“I did my utmost in training to appear on the upmost reaches of the chart showing who could lift the heaviest weight.”