Quiz time! Which example uses ingenuous correctly?

YouTube Marketing An Ingenuous Thing: What You Need To Know

Indeed, even an ingenuous child cries out with remorse when caught.

Joe Muench: Ingenuous plan for using those Asarco properties

If you picked the second one, give yourself a gold star. Ingenuous means innocent, artless, simple. It could be a compliment or an insult, but it does not somehow mean clever or creative. Our second example explains that even a innocent child will feel remorse about a thing if he’s caught doing it (though, if he’s “caught,” doesn’t that imply wrongdoing?).

The sad, ingenuous path of John Locke has been trumped by the machinations of Betty Draper.

If you refuse to take part in a game of corruption that everyone around you is playing, you’re taken for an ingenuous fool.

Both the first and third examples wanted ingenious, meaning something original, creative, inventive. As in:

Caffeinated Marshmallows?! Ingenious!

YouTube marketing might be just thing clever thing to sell your product. And though you might have an innocent way of using those Asarco properties, it’s not something worth bragging about. A creative use is another story. So are caffeinated marshmallows. Just don’t give them to ingenuous kids.