Word Play: Clever vs. Candid

May 24, 2024
Word Play: Clever vs. Candid

Word Play: Clever vs. Candid

Understanding Ingenious vs. Ingenuous

When it comes to the words “ingenious” and “ingenuous,” they might sound quite similar but have completely different meanings. Let’s break down their differences to help you remember when to use each one correctly.


The word “ingenious” comes from the Latin word “ingenium,” meaning clever or talented. On the other hand, “ingenuous” has Latin origins as well, from “ingenuus,” which translates to noble or frank.

How to use them:

Use ingenious when you want to describe something clever, creative, or resourceful. On the contrary, reserve ingenuous for situations where you want to express someone sincere, innocent, or straightforward.

Trick to Remember the Difference:

One handy trick to remember the difference between the two is that ingenious contains the word “genius,” reminding you of creativity and cleverness. Conversely, ingenuous contains “genuine,” indicating honesty and sincerity.

Examples of Usage:


  1. The inventor came up with an ingenious solution to fix the broken machine.
  2. Her ingenious painting technique impressed the art critics.
  3. Using only a few household items, he created an ingenious device to water the plants automatically.
  4. The puzzle was so complex that only someone truly ingenious could solve it.
  5. His ingenious plan to save the company from bankruptcy worked brilliantly.


  1. She had an ingenuous smile that won over everyone in the room.
  2. Being so ingenuous, he often fell for simple pranks played by his friends.
  3. Her ingenuous nature made it hard for her to see the deceit in others.
  4. His ingenuous confession touched the hearts of the jury during the trial.
  5. Children often have an ingenuous way of asking questions that adults find refreshing.


Ingenious is used to describe cleverness and creativity, while ingenuous is used for innocence and sincerity. Remember the trick: “genius” for ingenious and “genuine” for ingenuous.