Word Confusion: Facts vs FAQs vs Fax

Posted June 15, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

You can fax the facts and the facts can be faxed or you can check a FAQs page for the facts.

Now, the facts are that both facts and FAQs are strictly nouns while fax is quite the busy bee what with being an adjective, noun, and verb. So do your readers a favor and don’t FAQs the facts to them…fax ’em instead.

This Word Confusion trio is an heterograph.

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.

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You may also want to explore the post, “Fact versus Factoid“.

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Facts FAQs Fax
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: fact, FAQ, and fax

Cover for Travis S. Kenndy's book

“True Crime Stories: 10 Heinous True Crime Stories Of Sickly Serial Killers, Murderers And Sociopaths” was written by Travis S. Kennedy, via Goodreads

True crime stories are all about the facts.

A screenshot of the KD Did It FAQs page

“FAQs About Editing, Critiquing, and Reviewing” courtesy of KD Did It

Olivetti fax machine sitting at an angle.

“Telefax” is Tumi-1983’s own work under the GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 licenses, via Wikimedia Commons

An Olivetti fax machine.

Part of Grammar:
Plural of the noun: fact Plural of the noun: FAQ


A.k.a., FAQ’s

Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: faxes
Past tense or past participle: faxed
Gerund or present participle: faxing

Non-standard spelling for facts

A thing that is indisputably the case

  • Reality
  • Truth

Something known to exist or to have happened

A truth known by actual experience or observation

  • Something known to be true

Something said to be true or supposed to have happened

[Law; often, facts] An actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect or consequence

A piece of information

[Computing] Frequently Asked Question

[Computing] A list that provides answers to common questions asked by visitors to a Web site

  • [Computing] A text file containing basic information on a particular subject

An image of a document made by electronic scanning and transmitted as data by telecommunication links

  • The production or transmission of faxes
  • [Fax machine] A machine for transmitting and receiving faxes

Verb, intransitive:
Contact someone by fax

Verb, transitive:
Send a document by fax

  • Contact by fax
The facts are, there is no basis for your supposition.

Get me all the facts of this case.

She lacks political experience—facts that become clear when she appears in public.

Scientists gather facts about plant growth.

The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.

Most parents hate having to tell their child the facts of life.

Didn’t your parents explain the facts of life to you?

It’s best to explore the FAQs page before emailing a company with your question.

The FAQs page sometimes has answers to questions you didn’t know you had.

FAQs give basic information for users of a website.

This is a faxed document.

I hate these fax orders.

He received the report by fax.

We bought one of those combination printer-fax-copy-scanner machines.

Reporters sometimes send in their articles by fax.

“Could this fax be any longer?” he asked with a snarl.

Verb, intransitive:
The best way to order materials was to fax.

Verb, transitive:
Did you fax the contract to George?

Fax that brochure to the buyer.

She can fax the agreement to me.

Adjective: fact-based, fact-check, fact-finding, factful, factive, factual,
Noun: fact-finder, fact-finding, facticity, factuality, factualness, factum
Verb, transitive: fact-check
Adjective: faxed
History of the Word:
Late 15th century from the Latin factum, originally as an act or feat. Later it was interpreted as a bad deed, a crime and surviving in the phrase before (or after) the fact.

Late 16th century is the earliest use of current usage, i.e., truth, reality

1985-90: f(requently) a(sked) q(uestions) 1940s: An abbreviation of facsimile.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

FAQs about Junk Faxes” is provided by the Federal Communications Commission and is a federal web page that explains the why of junk faxes and how to get rid of them.