Skip to main content

Exercise vs. Exorcise (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between exercise and exorcise with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

This week's grammar rules post will exercise our lexical prowess while also exorcising (perhaps) any misconceptions about how to use exercise and exorcise. One word is often used in connection with physical fitness and practice, while the other refers to casting out bad spirits.

(3 Tips for Writing Possession Horror.)

So let's look at the differences between exercise and exorcise and when to use each.

Exercise vs. Exorcise (Grammar Rules)

Exercise vs. Exorcise

Exercise can be used as a noun or verb in a variety of ways. As a noun, exercise can refer to physical fitness, but it can also refer to other acts and activities (including academic or military exercises). As a verb, exercise is a synonym for use and exert, and also means to train and/or put through exercises (including, but not limited to, physical fitness exercises).

(8 Ways to Stay Mentally Fit and Mindful in the Writing Process.)

Exorcise is a verb that means to expel or rid one of an evil spirit or something that is problematic in an oppressive way.

Make sense?

Here are a few examples of exercise and exorcise:

Correct: She always feels better after a bit of exercise in the morning.
Incorrect: She always feels better after a bit of exorcise in the morning.

Correct: He needed to exorcise his demons before he could focus on work.
Incorrect: He needed to exercise his demons before he could focus on work.

While exercise can mean more than physical fitness, I do think about the second "e" in exercise as "energy" to complete an activity. Meanwhile, the "o" in exorcise conjures up the word "out," as in casting out an evil spirit or bad habit.


Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Blackmail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Blackmail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, one character blackmails another.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

30 Poetry Prompts From 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Get all 30 poetry prompts from the 15th annual November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge here. Actually, 35 prompts if you're counting Two-for-Tuesday prompts!

How to Stalk Publishing Professionals on Social Media in an Appropriate Way

How to Stalk Publishing Professionals on Social Media in an Appropriate Way

Many people are self-professed "stalkers" on social media, whether they're following life events of friends or celebrities. But writers can learn quite a bit on social media by stalking publishing professionals too, and this post covers the appropriate way to do so.


Samantha Vérant: On Romance and Recipes

Author Samantha Vérant discusses how her writing process changed while writing her new contemporary romance novel, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 633

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a warm up poem.

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Every so often writers ask if they should pitch different to agents vs. editors. This post answers that question and provides some extra help on how to successfully pitch both.

Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, feature an urban legend in your story.

Grose, 12:6

Jessica Grose: On the Unsustainability of Parenting

Opinion writer and author Jessica Grose discusses the complicated subject of modern motherhood in her new nonfiction book, Screaming on the Inside.

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Shick discusses the complete rewrite she devoted to her debut novel, The Golden Land.