Commonly Misused Words: Dilemma II

August 10, 2006: Issue 151

A dilemma is a choice between two unpleasant options.

When your designer says you have to decide between mahogany and Italian marble for your new floors, you’re faced with a simple choice, not a dilemma.

When you’re stranded on an uncharted island with a bunch of nasty monsters, a mysterious electromagnetic field, and a creepy band of murderers, and the murderers kidnap your son, and the only way you can get the boy back is by sending some of your fellow castaways straight into the creepy people’s trap—lose your child or sacrifice your friends—that’s a dilemma.

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