Deprived or depraved?

Is he deprived … or depraved?

It all began when I was proof-reading a colleague’s work. I was working for a digital marketing agency, and we were working on a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness of neglected children. A heart-wrenching paragraph described the plight of some depraved children – hang on – depraved as in ‘morally corrupt and wicked’? Or deprived as in ‘suffering a severe and damaging lack of basic material and cultural benefits’?

The problem zoomed into focus in my mind. Spell checkers can’t help you here, as both words are spelled correctly, but with very different meanings. So how do you teach people to spell words in situations when spell checkers can’t work it out for you?

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