Word Confusion: Rapport versus Report

Posted October 22, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 7 October 2017

I know that rapport is important to achieve when you want to interview someone as a reporter, and since rapport has but one form, there is no way that someone could be a rapporter or do any rapporting. So you can imagine how disconcerting it is to read about a character who is actively rapporting…sigh… Even a spellcheck should catch something like this!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Rapport Report
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster: rapport and report

Friendship portrait of three boys. Black chalk, blue wash, heightened with white. 37 x 44.7 cm. Signed and dated lower right 'made by Berolino 1811'.

“Friendship of Three Boys Berlin”, 1811, by Anton Wachsmann (1765–1836), courtesy of Galerie Bassenge, is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

These three boys appear to have a great rapport.

Soldier saluting a superior officer seated behind a desk

“Soldier of the Year Competition Requires Mental & Physical Toughness” by Spc. Tobey White is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A soldier has to report to his commanding officer.

Part of Grammar:
Plural for the noun: rapports
Adjective; Noun 1;
Verb 2, intransitive 3 and 4 & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: reports
Past tense or past participle: reported
Gerund or present participle: reporting

A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well

  • A friendly relationship
An account given of a particular matter, especially in the form of an official document, after thorough investigation or consideration by an appointed person or body

  • A spoken or written description of an event or situation, especially one intended for publication or broadcast in the media
  • A teacher’s written assessment of a student’s work, progress, and conduct, issued at the end of a term or academic year
  • [Law] A detailed formal account of a case heard in a court, giving the main points in the judgment, especially as prepared for publication
  • A piece of information that is unsupported by firm evidence and that the speaker feels may or may not be true
  • [Dated] Rumor
  • [Archaic] The way in which someone or something is regarded; reputation

A sudden loud noise of, or like, an explosion or gunfire

An employee who is supervised by another employee

Verb, intransitive:
[Reporting verb] Give a spoken or written account of something that one has observed, heard, done, or investigated

  • Cover an event or subject as a journalist or a reporter
  • [Be reported] Used to indicate that something has been stated, although one cannot confirm its accuracy

Present oneself formally as having arrived at a particular place or as ready to do something 3

[Report to] Be responsible to a superior or supervisor 4

Verb, transitive:
[Reporting verb] Give a spoken or written account of something that one has observed, heard, done, or investigated

  • Cover an event or subject as a journalist or a reporter
  • Make a formal statement or complaint about (someone or something) to the necessary authority
  • [Of a legislative committee] Formally announce that the committee has dealt with a bill
She was able to establish a good rapport with the children.

There was little rapport between them.

He quickly developed a good rapport with the other teachers.

She works hard to build rapport with her patients.

There is a lack of rapport between the members of the group.

“Although … a southerner, [Carter] had an easy rapport with blacks and the early support of some key black leaders in his home state…” – Jack W. Germond, Fat Man in a Middle Seat, 2002

You are on report, soldier.

The chairman’s annual report was quite promising.

Press reports suggested that the government was still using secret police to help maintain public order.

Did you bring your report card home?

Reports were circulating that the chairman was about to resign.

Report has it that the beetles have now virtually disappeared.

Whatsoever things are lovely and of good report as to your reputation, my lady.

There was a sudden report that sounded like gunfire.

These hoaxers are reported to be hacking into airline frequencies to impersonate air traffic controllers.

All of his reports are poorly written with no concept of punctuation or capitalization.

Verb, intransitive:
The teacher should report on the child’s progress.

The press reported on Republican sex scandals.

He’s a reported $50,000 in debt.

He was given three days to say goodbye to his family and report for active duty.

The Egyptian news agency reported that a coup attempt had taken place.

Verb, transitive:
The representative reported a decline in milk and meat production.

Police reported that the flood waters were abating.

The paper reported a secret program by the country to build nuclear warheads.

Undisclosed illegalities are reported to the company’s directors.

Eight horses have been reported missing in the last month.

The chairman shall report the bill to the House.

Adjective: nonreportable, nonreported, reportable, reported (modifies a noun)
Adverb: reportedly
Noun: prereport
Verb: overreport, prereport
Phrasal Verb
report back
report something back
report a bill out
History of the Word:
First known use: 1661

Mid-17th century French from rapporter meaning bring back, refer, from the Old French raporter meaning to bring back, from re- + aporter (to bring), from the Latin apportare, from ad- (ad-) + portare (to carry).

First known use: 14th century

Late Middle English from the Old French:

  • 1 report
  • 2 reporter gave rise to submit a formal report

The primary noun and verb are from the Latin reportare meaning bring back, from re- (back) + portare (carry).

The reporting verb sense, give an account 2, gave rise to:

  • 3 The mid-19th century phrase, inform an authority of one’s presence
  • 4 Late 19th century be accountable to a superior

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Pinterest Photo Credits

MNA Reporters Interview Visitors on Chengkungling Ground is 玄史生’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL licenses, via Wikimedia Commons.