Professional Style

Fortuitous vs. Fortunate

September 2009
Spot the Error

Ron and Anne made their hotel reservations for the Star Trek convention months in advance, which was fortuitous because, as the convention’s opening date approached, room rates went up dramatically.

With Ron and Anne’s foresight and skillful planning, their good fortune was anything but fortuitous. Fortuitous means happening by chance. So, by definition, anything that is planned cannot be fortuitous.

If, however, they were given a room right next to William Shatner’s room, then that would be fortuitous (that is, unless they bribed the hotel manager to get that particular room … then, once again, that would be planned).

What’s needed in the “Star Trek” sentence above is the similar sounding fortunate, which means lucky.

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