TOPIC: PAIR OF WORDS OFTEN CONFUSED
CUT TO MM – 1
(A dialogue between Ravi and his Mother)
Ravi: This English language is so damn tricky. I hate this subject.
Mother: Oh dear! Why are you so confused?
Ravi: Tomorrow I have an English test and I am very confused between words: advice
and advise, practice and practise. I can’t distinguish between quite and quiet.
Mother: dear, don’t get confused. I will take you to Lucy ma’m who will clear all your
CUT TO MM – 2
(Mother takes Ravi to Lucy ma’m where she explains -)
Yes, it has been observed that students often get confused while writing and
speaking certain words of English that have either almost identical spellings
or pronunciation. For example, words like `all ready` and `already`, which
have almost quite identical spellings and also pronunciation, are often
misused. It is, therefore, necessary to learn the correct usage of language to
avoid any confusion. Word usage involves using the right word at the right
time — using the correct word in a phrase and making proper distinctions
among words that are often confused.
Words often confused are like anything else in life. With a little patience and a lot of hard
work you can master words often confused. I will show you a presentation which will
clear all your doubts regarding such words.
CUT TO ANCHOR – 1
Children, you have just seen how Ravi was confused regarding certain words in English.
Are you also confused between words like: beside or besides.
Let’s face it, there are a number of sets of English words that sound alike or similar, yet
they are spelled differently and have different meanings. They can be confusing if not
pronounced carefully, and often they can get mixed up in your writing.
However, after this lesson, (your, you’re) going to know which is the right choice!
But before we begin our session today let us see what we are going to learn
FOLLOWING SUPER APPEARS ON BOARD
VO WITH TEXT ON SCREEN
My objectives in conducting this class:
• To enable the students to identify the similar sounding pairs of words
• To enable them to differentiate the meanings of similar sounding or
look - alike words.
• To enable them to comprehend the sentences where these words are
• To enable them to use these words in their own sentences in an
• To enable them to make these words in their active vocabulary.
ANCHOR – 2
Come let us explore these words:
Stationary (adjective) - not moving
The sun is stationary.
Stationery (noun) – writing materials
She deals in stationery
This shirt is for sale.
Sail (journey on water)
They sailed for Australia.
Sun (the star round which the earth
The sun gives light to earth.
Son (male child)
My son is a lovely chap.
Diary (a book for daily record)
Surinder writes his diary daily.
Dairy (a place where milk and milk
products are produced)
I like dairy products.
Story (a tale)
Children like to read stories.
Storey (floor of a house)
The upper storey of the building is
Angel (a heavenly being)
My good angel saved me from sin.
Angle (space between two lines
meeting at a point)
Draw an angle of 1800.
Bridal (related to marriage)
Her bridal dress is beautiful.
Bridle (reins of a horse)
Hold the bridle of the horse
Cord (thin rope)
Loosen the cords of this pocket a bit.
Chord (a line a circle)
Draw chord in a circle.
We must observe the basic canons of
Cannon (a big gun)
Cannon was fired in the evening.
ANCHOR – 3
Students, now you must be wondering how to remember these words.
Let me show you an easy mantra.
When I was a kid I always got confused between ‘weak’ and ‘week’ while
writing I could never make out which one referred to ‘ a period of seven
days’ and which one meant ‘lack of strength’.
So, my teacher told me an interesting way to remember it: the one which
carries double ‘e’, (double means strong so it can’t be weak), refers to seven
days and other one which carries single ‘e’ means weak.
Believe me, this method clicked and till today I can remember it without
committing any mistake.
So, students in terms of remembering certain confused words you can invent
a handy memory trick of you own. Let me show you how – study the
following set of words:
VO WITH TEXT ON SCREEN
accept, except Accept is a verb. Use except when it is not a verb.
I accept your invitation.
Everyone came except him.
advice, advise Advise is a verb. Use advice when it is not a verb. Pronounce these
words correctly, remembering that the s sounds like z, and you will
not confuse them.
I advise you to go.
I do not need any advice.
affect, effect Affect is a verb. Use effect when it is not a verb. If a, an, or the is
infront of the word, then you know it is not a verb, and you will
The lack of rain affected the crops.
The lack of rain had an effect on the crops.
The lack of rain had a bad effect on the crops.
all ready, already If you can leave out the all and the sentence still makes sense, then
all ready is the form to use.
I’m all ready to go. (I’m ready to go makes sense.)
Dinner is all ready. (Dinner is ready makes sense.)
If you can’t leave out the all and still have the sentence make
sense, then use already (the one with the all left in it).
I’m already late. (I’m ready late does not make sense.)
are, or, our Are is a verb. Or is use between two possibilities as tea or coffee.
Our shows we possess something.
We are studying English.
Take it or leave it.
Our class meets at eight.
choose, chose I will choose a partner right now.
I chose a partner yesterday.
clothes, cloths Her clothes were attractive.
We used soft cloths to polish the car.
coarse, course Coarse describes texture, as coarse cloth. Course is used for all
other meanings. Remember this sentence: Of course you are taking
Find the tree u’s in that sentence and then remember that those
words are always spelled with u.
Her suit was made of coarse material.
Of course I enjoyed that course.
compliment A complement completes something. Compliment means “praise.”
Remember “I like compliments,” and you will remember to use the
A 30-degree angle is the complement of a 60-degree angle.
She gave him a compliment.
conscious The extra n in conscience should remind you of NO, which is what
your conscience often says to you. The other word conscious
simply means “aware.”
My conscience bothers me because I ignored him.
I was not conscious that it was raining.
desert, dessert Dessert is the sweet one, the one you like two helpings of. So give
it two helping of s. The other one, desert, is used for all other
We had apple pie for dessert.
Don’t desert me.
The camel moved slowly across the desert.
does, dose Does is a verb. A dose is an amount of medicine.
He does his work well.
She does not care about cars.
He took a dose of medicine.
forth, fourth Fourth with four in it is a number. Otherwise use forth. Note that
while fourth has four in it, forty does not. Remember the word
This is our fourth game.
That was our forty-fourth point.
She walked back and forth.
fair, fare Fair means average, good-looking, pale, unbiased (what a lot of
meanings for one little word!);
Fare is the money you pay to go somewhere by bus, train, plane,
taxi, etc. It can also refer to a passenger. As a verb it means do, as
"I didn't fare as well in my exams this year as I'd hoped."
foul, fowl Foul can mean dishonourable (by foul means), disgusting (a foul
Fowl is a bird.
here, hear Here refers to a location (as in "over here").
Hear is always what your ears do.
knew, new Knew has to do with knowledge (both start with k). New means
I knew that I wanted a new job.
know, no Know has to do with knowledge (both start with k). No means “not
I know she has no money left.
moral, morale Moral has to do with right and wrong; morale means “group
spirit.” Pronounce them correctly, and you won’t confuse them—
It was a moral question.
The morale of the team was excellent.
passed, past Passed is a verb. Use past when it’s not a verb.
He passed the house.
He walked past the house (it’s the same as He walked by the
house, so you know it is not a verb).
He is living in the past.
He was going on his past reputation.
peace, piece Remember “piece of pie.” The one meaning “a piece of
something” always begins with pie. The other one, peace, is the
opposite of war.
I gave him a piece of my mind.
They signed the peace treaty.
personnel Pronounce these two correctly, and you will not confuse them—
He had a personal interest in the election.
He was in charge of personnel in the factory.
principle Principal means “main.” Both words have a in them:
The principal of the school spoke. (main teacher)
The principal difficulty is time. (main difficulty)
He lost both principal and interest. (main amount of money)
A principle is a “rule.” Both words end in le: principle rule
He lived by his principles. (rules)
I object to the principle of the thing. (rule)
quiet, quite Pronounce these two correctly, and you will not misspell them.
Quiet is pronounced qui et.
The book is quite interesting.
than, then Than compares two things. Then tells when (then and when sound
alike and both have e in them).
I would rather have this than that.
Then he started home.
they’re Their is a possessive. There points out something and is spelled
Remember “here and there.” They’re always means “they are.”
Their house is painted pink.
There is where I left it.
There were clouds in the sky.
They’re planning to come.
threw, through Threw means “to throw something” in past time. If you do not
mean “to throw something,” use through.
He threw the ball. I threw away my chance.
I came in through the out door.
He threw the ball through the window.
to, too, two Two is a number. Too means “more then enough” or “also.” Use to
for all other meanings.
I have two brothers.
The lesson was too difficult and too long. (more than enough)
I found it difficult, too. (also)
It was too much for two people to eat.
weather, whether Weather refers to atmospheric conditions. Whether means “if.”
Whether I’ll go depends on the weather.
were, where Were is a verb. Where has herein it, and both where and here refer
to a place.
Were you the winner?
Where is he? Here he is.
Where are you? Here I am.
who’s, whose Who’s always means “who is” or “who has.” Whose is a
Who’s been using my tennis racket?
Whose book is this?
woman, women Remember that the word is just man or men with wo in front of it.
wo man …woman … one woman
wo men …women … two women
your, you’re You’re always means “you are.” Your is a possessive.
You’re very welcome.
Your toast is ready.
ANCHOR – 4
It is time to do a little exercise.
FOLLOWING SUPER APPEARS ON SCREEN
Choose the suitable word from those given in brackets.
VO WITH TEXT ON SCREEN
• Which of these (to, too, two) boxes of (stationery, stationary) do you like better?
• Make a list of all the (mail, male) members in our staff.
• He felt (weak, week) after illness.
• He noted it down in his (dairy, diary)
• The (principal, principle) raised his arms for silence, and the students grew quiet to
(hear, here) what he would say.
• It will be difficult to (alter, altar) that curtain because the fabric is so (coarse,
ANCHOR - 5
Sometimes people get words confused because they look or sound similar;
some are confused because they are rarely used or because people hear other
people misusing them.
A few years ago when my dad and I had one of our road trips, we stopped at
Chandigarh to spend the night.
At the hotel was a sign at the register desk that read, “Sorry. We do not
I looked at my dad. I couldn’t believe a business establishment would make
a mistake like that!
Now, students what was wrong with this sentence
Yes, a wrong word (except) has been used in this situation.
So, what should be the right word?
The sentence should read “Sorry. We do not accept cheque.”
ANCHOR – 6
It is time to look at some more words which are often confused and which
can make the user look confused too.
VO WITH TEXT ON SCREEN
Have you ever read an ad for a chair that will "compliment" your decor? Do
you have visions of the chair wandering around the room saying, "What a
lovely vase ... this is a delightful painting ... love the colour..."?
Perhaps if the ad read that the chair would be a "complement" to the decor,
you'd feel less like you'd entered a Loony Tunes set.
"Compliment" means a polite expression of praise, whereas a "complement"
is something which completes something else.
Kindly note the difference:
Compliment (noun) - expression of approval, admiration etc.
Complement (noun) - that which makes something complete
One of the most commonly misused pairs is "loose" and "lose."
Do these look familiar?
"There's no time to loose."
"Do not loose this receipt.
It seems that "loose" is everyone's favourite and no-one like to use "lose."
"Loose" is an adjective - it describes a noun (or pronoun) and means 'not
attached, released from bonds or restraint' e.g. a loose connection.
"Lose" is a verb - it means to misplace something
e.g. "There's no time to lose."
"Do not lose this docket."
Another pair that always leaps off the page and slaps me in the face is "hanged" and
A criminal is always hanged; a picture is hung:
"We hung the portrait where everybody could see it."
"John Smith was hanged yesterday at dawn."
Just remember, "I'll be hanged if they're going to hang me," and you won't
forget the difference again!
Note: Paintings, clothes, wallpaper etc are hung, but people sentenced to
hang by the neck until dead, are hanged
ANCHOR – 7
FOLLOWING SUPER APPEARS ON SCREEN
dear students, unfortunately, there are not any “rules” that can help you
remember all the words and phrases that are commonly confused and
misused in writing. You have to browse the lists of confused and misused
words offered in this presentation to become familiar with what’s there. The
more you look them over and identify which ones you don’t know, the more
you will be able to clear your doubts. You must note the words you don’t
know and then concentrate on learning them, perhaps a few per day.
ANCHOR – 8
To reinforce your understanding of the words let us do some exercises:
VO WITH TEXT ON SCREEN
Choose the suitable word from those given in the brackets
1. (Who, whom) is in charge of this restaurant?
2. When Tagore house lost (its, it’s, its’) game last weekend, some fans
could not (accept, except) it.
3. The winner is (whoever, whomever) we choose.
4. (Its, it’s) hard to tell if practicing grammar will have any (affect, effect) on
5. In order for tuition to (raise, rise) next year, administrators will need to
share (there, their, they’re) figures with the public.
6. We figured that the school’s (principle, principal) was our (principle,
7. Getting the (role, roll) was the (brake, break) that helped her (loose, lose)
her bad mood.
1. who. 2. its, accept. 3. whomever. 4. it’s, effect. 5. rise, their. 6. principal,
principle. 7. role, break, lose.