Ever have those moments where you wish you could turn off the sound when someone is rambling on about something you see as irrelevant? Knowing the difference between “mute” and “moot” allows you to “mute” those rambling diatribes that are “moot.” Most importantly, using the words correctly shows your grasp of the English language and gives you credibility, regardless of how relevant or irrelevant your words.
Moot is an old word whose meaning is often confused. In Old English, “moot” meant a point that was up for debate. In modern usage, however, it means something is irrelevant.
On the other hand, “mute” has several meanings, including possessing an inability to speak, remaining silent or unrecognized or turning off the sound.
With today’s technology, the “mute” button is on many of your favorite gadgets, such as the TV remote and phones. It lets you silence something you wish not to hear with the case of the TV remote. Better yet, it allows you to make yourself silent on the phone when you want to say all those things you should never say out loud.
Sometimes, you probably wish you could make someone else mute. This is likely true in a virtual sense when it comes to social networking sites (think Facebook and Twitter). You know those users, the ones that update you about every minute, mundane and moot detail in their lives.
Even though you cannot bring yourself to delete these frenemies, you can quiet, or mute, the incessant ramblings that drive you crazy – like the girlfriend who professes her undying, epic love to her boyfriend, who is in the room with her, every second of the day via status posts on Facebook or with Tweets or the “friend” with awkward posts that leave you mute because no response is better than what you are really thinking. If you are not a savvy social-networking user, you CAN mute the moot on Twitter via Twitter Snooze and on Facebook via some filtering in the customization settings. You can even mute yourself selectively on Facebook.
The lesson you should take away from this is that the ability to mute the moot is not a bad thing. The bigger lesson, though, is that you walk away knowing the difference between the two words. When you incorrectly use words, your respectability drops in the eyes of your readers, which can make them give you a virtual or figurative muting by not continuing to read what you write. This makes anything you have to say a moot point.