The English language is full of closely related words that writers get confused. It becomes even more difficult to pick between two words when they are pronounced the same and have very similar spellings! In this post, we are going to focus on choosing between nosey or nosy so that writers get the correct spelling.
Which Is Correct: Nosey or Nosy?
Just like we saw when analyzing the difference between seen and saw, the English language is full of words that are easy to confuse. Nosy and nosey are great examples of words writers are unsure about. Do you have nosy neighbors or nosey neighbors?
- Both spellings are acceptable! According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, both spellings are correct in American English and British english.
We know from studying the difference between British & American English that there are often spelling & grammatical differences. However, not in this case. Both nosey or nosy can be the correct spelling.
Here are some sentence examples that illustrate how to use the word nosy.
- She always seems to be so nosy, always asking questions about my personal life.
- I don’t like having a nosy neighbor, they always seem to be watching my every move.
- He was being nosy, trying to peek over my shoulder to see what I was working on.
- I try to keep my business private, but my nosy coworkers always seem to find out.
- I don’t want to be nosey, but I can’t help but wonder what’s going on with her.
- It’s not my place to be nosey, but I can’t help but be curious about the new neighbors.
- The nosey parker just couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to know everyone’s secrets.
Just like we saw in our comparison of grammer vs grammar, spelling is very important! Pay close attention to spelling as small changes can completely change the meaning of a word or sentence.
Before researching the actual data on Google’s n-gram data, I thought that nosey was the more popular spelling. However, it is clear that nosy is used far more commonly in published writing.
Just like we saw in our analysis of the words are & is, the popularity of specific words changes over time. So who knows…maybe nosey will become the more common spelling in future years!
Wrong Way To Use Nosey or Nosy
Now you know the correct usage of “nosy and nosey”. However, many writers still use it incorrectly! Here are some example of how NOT to use these words.
- I am nosy about what I have to do tomorrow.
- I am nosey about what my schedule is for next week.
- My teacher just assigned me a project & I am nosey about what I have to do.
Each of these sentences demonstrates incorrect usage. You can’t be nosey about your own business! Someone can only be nosey if they are curious about other people’s business.
However, you need to pay close attention! Just like we saw in our post on payed or paid attention, even small spelling changes can completely change a sentence.
Using Nosy As An Adverb Or Verb
The words “nosy” and “nosey” are versatile that can act as different parts of speech depending on the context of the sentence.
- Adverb – “Nosy” can be used as an adverb to describe how a person is overly interested in other people’s business. They are excessively curious about things that do not concern them. For example: “Mark nosily asked me how my marriage was doing.“
- Verb – “Nosy” can be also be used as a verb. It is the act of being excessively curious or inquisitive. For example: “Mark got caught nosying around the office looking for documents in desk drawers.“
In both cases, “nosy” implies a negative connotation, indicating that the person’s behavior is seen as intrusive or unwanted. You don’t want to be called “nosy”!
Frequently Asked Questions
It is correct to spell this word as nosey or nosy. Both can be used to indicate that someone is unduly curious about someone or something else that is none of their business. For example, you might say “my nosy neighbor is always so interested in other people’s lives.”
A nosy person is normally NOT used to indicate that someone has a prominent nose. Nosy is used to describe a person that is interested in other people’s business. For example, you might say “my nosy in laws are always asking questions about my business.”
It thought that the term “nosy” was created from the fact people find things using their nose. They search for someone using their nose and sense of smell. It has since evolved to refer to someone that is too interested in other people’s business. You can always use the variant spelling nosey.
There are times when it is OK to be nosey. For example, every parent is naturally inquisitive into their kid’s business. However, in most situations, it can be intrusive to be overly interested in other people’s business.
The Bottom Line
Now you’re an expert on how to spell nosey. When people ask, is it nosey or nosy? You know the correct answer is both! Although most writers use the spelling nosy, the spelling variant nosey is also correct. They are the same word and can be used to talk about someone who is always in other people’s business. If you need some extra help using these words correctly, use our sentence rewriter tool FREE of charge.