Commonly confused words 1


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These are just some of the commonly confused words in English. This is very good practice to learn more vocabulary.

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Commonly confused words 1

  1. 1. Live Free / Speak Free
  2. 2. The English language seems to be easy to learn since almostall schools of all countries study it. Even if it’s the secondlanguage of other nations, in one way or another theysomehow can get by in speaking the language.There are many pairs of words in English language where asingle space inserted can make a huge difference to themeaning of the word leading to confusion in the minds ofthose trying to learn the language. One such a pair of wordsis apart and a part where a single space twists the meaning. Iwill attempt to explain the difference to these plus manyothers.
  3. 3. To accept most commonly means to receive willingly. Except usuallymeans apart from or excluding.There is often confusion over the words accept and except. Theysound similar, but their meanings are very different.AcceptTo accept is a verb. It has several meanings:To hold something as true.The officer accepts your point and has decided to let you off witha caution.I accept she may have been tired, but thats still no excuse.
  4. 4. To receive something willingly.I accept this award on behalf of the whole cast.Do you accept dogs in your hotel?Please accept my resignation. I dont want to belong to any club thatwill accept me as a member. (Groucho Marx)To answer yes (especially to an invitation).The minister would love to accept the invitation to your ball, but shehas a prior engagement.
  5. 5. ExceptThe word except is most commonly seen as a preposition. However, it canalso be used a conjunction and very occasionally as a verb.Except as a preposition means apart from, not including or excluding.I can resist everything except temptation. (Oscar Wilde)I have nothing to declare except my genius. (Oscar Wilde)Marge, dont discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is importantto learn. Its what separates us from the animals...except the weasel.(Homer Simpson)It has been said that democracy is the worst form of governmentexcept all the others that have been tried. (Winston Churchill)
  6. 6. Except as a conjunction means but or if not the fact that.I would go swimming, except I am scared of big fish.Except as a verb means to exclude.You are excepted from the ruling.EXCEPT = EXCLUDINGLet the first two letters of except remind you that it means excluding.
  7. 7. The first precept was never to a thing astrue until I knew it as such without a single doubt.Move all the furniture the piano.Everyone turned up Paul.The whole class Martin will work until 6 pm.(Note: Choose the one that means apart from Martin.)When defeat comes, it as a signal that yourplans are not sound.accept / exceptaccept / exceptaccept / exceptaccept / exceptaccept / exceptClick on the correct word in each of the following sentences.
  8. 8. Adverse means hostile. Averse means unwilling.AdverseThe adjective adverse means antagonistic, opposing, harmful, hostile orunfavorable (unfavourable ).Examples:Adverse conditions including rain, snow, ice and fog affect your visibility.He is not responsible for the adverse events in your life.AverseExamples:The adjective averse means strongly disinclined, unwilling or loath. (Mostoften, it refers to people.)Are you averse to hunting?The company staff are averse to change.
  9. 9. Click on the correct word in each of the following sentences.I can tell you this much. Sarah is not to shopping.I cannot keep going in such conditions.Your comments were not helpful.Are you to dogs being allowed upstairs?I am not to hard work. I just think its a bad idea.adverse / averseadverse / averseadverse / averseadverse / averseadverse / averse
  10. 10. Take my advice. I dont use it anyway.He who can take advice is sometimes superior to him who can give it.Many receive advice, but only the wise profit from it.Advice is a noun. It means a suggestion for a beneficial course of action.Advise is a verb. It means to give advice.There is often confusion over the words advice and advise.AdviceThe word advice is a noun meaning a suggestion for a beneficialcourse of action. (It rhymes with mice.)Examples:
  11. 11. I have found the best way to give advice to your children is tofind out what they want and then advise them to do it.The rich are always advising the poor, but the poor seldom returnthe compliment.Attach yourself to those who advise you rather than praise you.Women will never be as successful as men because they have nowives to advise them.AdviseThe word advise is a verb meaning to give advice. (It rhymes with prize.)To advise can also mean to notify (e.g., I advised him I was leaving.)Examples:
  12. 12. A LITTLE TRICK TO SPOT ADVICETry using the word assistance instead of advice. If the sentence still makessense, then advice is almost certainly correct.(This trick works because advice is a noun, just like the word assistance.)I offered my advice.I offered my assistance.A LITTLE TRICK TO SPOT ADVISETry using the verb to assist (in its various forms;e.g., assisting, assisted, assists) instead of advise. If the sentence stillmakes sense, then advise is almost certainly correct. However, if you findyourself trying to use assistance, then you should be usingadvice, because both are nouns.(This trick works because to advise is a verb, just like to assist. )Are you trying to advise me?Are you trying to assist me?I do not need your advise.I do not need your assistance.
  13. 13. A word to the wise isnt necessary - its the stupid ones who needthe .Click on the correct word in each of the following sentences.The pilot ship the captain to stay clear of theharbour for 12 hours.I agree. is one of those things it is far more blessedto give than to receive.When a man comes to me for , I find out thehe wants, and I give it to him.The doctors prescribed pain relief and theboy to return if there was no improvement.advice / adviseadviced /advisedAdvice / Adviseadvice / adviseadviced / advisedadvice / advise
  14. 14. Be bold and mighty powers will come to your aid. (Basil King)I have known sorrow and learned to aid the wretched. (Virgil (70BC - 19 BC))Aid means help or assistance. (To aid means to help or to assist.)Aide means helper or assistant.AidThe word aid means help or assistance. It is commonly seen as anadjective, a noun and a verb. (As a verb, it means to aid or to assist.)Examples:AideThe noun aide means a helper or an assistant. An aide is a person.General McChrystal and his aides told the unvarnished truth.The Libyan leader caused a scene at the African Heads of StateSummit in Munyonyo when he slapped one of his aides for takinghim to a wrong venue.Examples:
  15. 15. Allude means to refer to indirectly.Elude means to avoid or to evade.The verbs allude and elude sound very similar, and this iswhy they are sometimes confused.AlludeTo allude means to refer to indirectly. The verbs to allude and tomention are close in meaning, but to allude is less direct. It can betranslated as to hint at or to offer an indication about.
  16. 16. This Chinese saying alludes to natures power: "A spark can start afire that burns the entire prairie."(The saying does not mention natures power, but it offers a clueabout natures power. The saying alludes to natures power.)"Forewarned is forearmed" alludes to the importance of being incontrol.(offers an indication about the importance of being in control)The judge did not mention his previous crimes specifically, but healluded to them in his summary.(hinted at previous crimes)Examples:
  17. 17. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid try to elude capture.(try to avoid capture)Peter Beardsley used to allude defenders with his trademarkfoot shuffle.(avoid defenders / should be elude)EludeTo elude means to avoid, to evade or to escape from.Examples:ELUDE AND ESCAPEThe word elude starts with the same letter as escape. This may helpyou remember its meaning.
  18. 18. Click on the correct word in each of the following sentences.Her letter to a disturbed childhood. Her failure tothe school bullies is evident.William discovery by changing his name to Mark.After running out the court room, he spent three yearsthe police.The kidnapper to his demands, but he just wouldnot say them.alludes / eludesallude / eludealluded / eludedalluding / eludingalluded / eluded
  19. 19. An allusion is an indirect reference to something. An illusion is deception.AllusionThe noun allusion denotes a subtle or indirect reference to something(i.e., a hint at something). It derives from the verb to allude.Examples:Examples:The Simpsons is full of allusions to well-known films.His consistent allusions to being so poor as a child are not in keepingwith his brothers version of their childhood.IllusionAn illusion is a false impression or deception.Its not an oasis - it is an illusion.I am under no illusion how much work is required.
  20. 20. The word alot does not exist.A lot means a large extent or to a large extent (more below).To allot means to apportion something (more below).There is often confusion over the words alot, a lot and allot.AlotThis word does not exist. It is often mistakenly written instead of "a lot".I know alot about precious stones.I know a lot about precious stones.
  21. 21. A lotThe term a lot is the opposite of a little. As a noun, lot means a largeextent, a large amount or a large number. As an adverb, lot means to agreat extent or to a great degree. It nearly always appears in the forma lot.Examples:Mark has a lot of toys.(Lot is a noun in this example.)He cheats a lot.(Lot is an adverb in this example.)
  22. 22. AllotThe verb to allot means to give out, to apportion, to divide or todistribute. (Other forms of the verb are allots, allotted and allotting.)The peasant was allotted just 25m2 to grow his monster pumpkins.I will allot a radio to each group.You need to allot each syndicate sufficient time to question the presenter.Examples:
  23. 23. LOT CAN BE A NOUN OR AN ADVERBNoun. The noun lot means a large extent, large amount or large number. Itis most often seen in the form a lot.I know a lot of cool pubs in Brighton.I know a bunch of cool pubs in Brighton.(Evidence that lot is a noun - just like bunch.)Adverb. The adverb lot means to a great degree or great extent. It is mostoften seen in the form a lot.I run a lot.I run regularly.(Evidence that lot is an adverb - just like regularly.)
  24. 24. Select the correct answer:Q1 This word means to apportion or distribute.a. a lot b. allot c. alottQ2 Never write this word:a. allotted b. alot c. allotQ3 This words does not exist.a. alot b. alloted c. a lotBABCheck Answers
  25. 25. Please do not read aloud. Youre disturbing everyone else in thelibrary.The public are not keen on lip-syncing; therefore, medal hopefulsmust all learn to sing the national anthem aloud.Aloud means out loud.Allowed means permitted.The words aloud and allowed sound similar and are sometimes confused.AloudExamples:The adverb aloud means out loud and refers to sound (almostalways speech).
  26. 26. AllowedAllowed is the past tense of the verb to allow, which means topermit. Allowed is synonymous with (the same as) permitted.Small amounts of baby formula and breast milk are allowed inthe aircraft cabin if a baby or small child is traveling.I am not aloud to go to the party on Saturday.(should be allowed)Those with English as a second language are particularlyprone to this error. A native English speaker confusingthese words constitutes a grammatical howler.Examples:
  27. 27. Click on the correct word in each of the following sentences.Many cities have designated areas where drinking alcohol isnot .In most wax museums, it is forbidden to touch the life-like replicas;however, at Madame Tussaud’s, touching is , evenencouraged.Up to four ounces of essential non-prescription liquid medications areon board the aircraft.Many prayers are read ; for example, the Lords Prayerby Christians and the Shema by Jews.aloud /allowedaloud /allowedaloud /allowedaloud /allowed
  28. 28. All ready means completely prepared.Already means prior to a specified or implied time.The terms all ready and already sound identical and are sometimes confused.All readyThe term all ready means completely prepared. It is slightly more emphaticthan just prepared.Jillian is all ready. Mark is prepared to brief.(Most readers would assume Jillians state of preparedness to be higherthan Marks.)Example:Of course, like thousands of other nouns and pronouns, the word all(an indefinite pronoun) can precede ready.Is the tent ready? Is Jane ready? Are you ready? Are you all ready?Example:
  29. 29. AlreadyThe word already is an adverb meaning prior to a specified or impliedtime or as early as now.It is already illegal to culture human-animal embryos for more thanfourteen days.(already = since before now)When they pulled the shark up in the net it was already dead.(already = since before then)The wild Hepatica Nobilis flowers are already blooming - one monthearlier than last year.(already = as early as now)Examples:
  30. 30. ALL READY = READYReady can replace all ready but not already. Therefore, try to usejust ready. If your sentence still makes sense, then you are safe touse all ready; otherwise, use already.Jean is all ready.(Try the substitution: Jean is ready.(Therefore, all ready is correct.)I have already seen the latest play.(Try the substitution: I have ready seen the latest play.(Therefore, already is correct.)
  31. 31. Sewage, silt and chemicals from the new development arefiltering into the streams that flow down the mountain. Ineed the equipment to be by 0600 hours.Are you for the trip to France this summer? Ivepaid for my flight .The referee looked Lee in the eye and whispered, "Are you?" Lee nodded but he knew in his own mind that hedlost the fight.The Cub Scout motto is be prepared. Therefore, you shouldbe ready to move. Jonathan, is your equipmentcorrectly stowed? Are you to climb?all ready /alreadyall ready /alreadyall ready /alreadyall ready /alreadyall ready /alreadyall ready /alreadyall ready /alreadyClick on the correct word in each of the following sentences.all ready /already
  32. 32. Effect is a noun meaning outcome, consequence or appearance.To affect is a verb meaning to transform or to change.Difference between Affect and EffectThere is often confusion over the words effect and affect. In orderto understand which to use, you must know the difference betweena noun and a verb. This is because effect is a noun; whereas, affect isa verb. However, there are tricks to get around this.
  33. 33. Examples:What effect did foot-and-mouth disease have on your business?(effect - noun)("What consequence did foot-and-mouth..." < sounds ok; effect iscorrect)Did foot-and-mouth disease affect your business?(affect - verb)("Did foot-and-mouth disease transform your business?" < sounds ok;affect is correct)Do not allow this incident to effect your decision.(" outcome/consequence/appearance your decision" < nonsense;effect is wrong.)(" transform your decision" < sounds ok; affect is correct.)That spiral effect is effecting my eyes.
  34. 34. A LITTLE TRICK TO SPOT EFFECTThe word effect has several meanings. It can meanoutcome, consequence or appearance. Try using one of these instead ofeffect. If the sentence still makes sense, then effect is almost certainlycorrect.(This trick works because effect is a noun, just like the wordsoutcome, consequence and appearance. )A LITTLE TRICK TO SPOT AFFECTTry using the verb to transform (in its various forms;e.g., transforming, transformed, transforms) instead of affect. If thesentence still makes sense, then affect is almost certainly correct.However, if you find yourself using transformation then you should beusing effect, because both are nouns.(This trick works because to transform is a verb, just like to affect. )
  35. 35. NO CONFUSIONThere should be no confusion with affecting or affected. Theseare always verbs.BE AWAREThere is a verb to effect. It is quite rare, but useful in businesswriting. It means to bring into being.The new policy will be effected as soon as the paper is signed.
  36. 36. Click on the correct word in each of the following sentences.Does manufacturing mineral products theenvironment? If so, what is the of gold mining? I do notsee how that is the environment as much as thearticle claims.Eating chocolate my mood. It genuinely makes mehappier. The is quite noticeable. Gin, on the other hand,makes me sad. I first noticed these during my teens.Poor English your grades. The ofusing poor grammar should not be understated. Take it from me - it hasbeen my grades since I was 11 years old.affect / effectaffect / effectaffecting/ effectingaffects /effectsaffect / effectaffects /effectsaffects /effects affect / effectaffecting / effecting
  37. 37. Alright is a nonstandard variant of all right. Even thoughalright is becoming more acceptable, it is best avoided.Alright Not Widely AcceptedMany people use alright unaware that it is not widely accepted asa word. It should be written all right. However, the merger of allright to alright has been underway for over a century, and it isbecoming more acceptable. Mergers such as altogether andalready are fully acceptable. They are far older than alright.Its Not Right and Its Not WrongInterestingly, the Microsoft Word spellchecker will not highlightalright as an error, but it will also not suggest alright if you spellit incorrectly. Therefore, Microsoft are sitting on the fence withregard to alright being accepted as standard.
  38. 38. Alright is Deemed More Modern by SomeSome would even argue that, through common usage, alrightis becoming more acceptable than all right. The makers of TVshow "Itll be alright on the night" are known to haveconsidered "Itll be all right on the night", but opted for theformer as a more modern version.Screen shot from Word(1) Does not show alright as an error.(2) Does not offer alright as an option.Well-known TV programme"Itll Be Alright On The Night"
  39. 39. AVOID ALRIGHT AND ALL RIGHTYour readers will have different opinions on the use of alrightand all right. Therefore, avoid both versions - especially informal writing. This should not be difficult as they do not lendthemselves to formal writing.All right (to reinforce an assertion)It is overdue all right.(Delete all right or reword: It is substantially overdue.)All right (an interjection that means very well and normally at the start of asentence)All right, it is time to discuss...(Delete all right or reword: We agree that it is time to discuss...)
  40. 40. All right (meaning okay, in a satisfactory manner)Her work ethic was all right.(Reword: Her work ethic was satisfactory.)My thoughtsAll = everythingRight = correctAll right = everything is correct.Alright = OK All right = everything is OK.And the American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style seemsto contradict itself. It states that “alright” as one word “has never beenaccepted as standard” but it then goes on to explain that “all right” as twowords and “alright” as one word have two distinct meanings. It gives theexample of the sentence“The figures are all right.”When you use “all right” as two words, the sentence means “the figures areall accurate.”When you write “The figures are alright,” with “alright” as one word, thissource explains that the sentence means “the figures are satisfactory.”
  41. 41. Alright has the advantage of allowing us to distinguish between “Theanswers were all right”, meaning they were all correct, and “Theanswers were alright”, meaning they were OK, but nothing special.Alright means okay; acceptable. All right means entirely, completelyor totally right. And in this instance right could mean correct, or theopposite of left.USE ALL RIGHT IN FORMAL WRITINGIf you cannot avoid all right or alright, then opt for all right.Using alright, especially in formal writing, runs a higher riskthat your readers will view it as an error. It is far more difficultto justify alright than all right.
  42. 42. The ancient Britons used to sacrifice animals on elaborate stone altars.We were married at the altar in St Pauls Cathedral.Have you seen the water damage to the alter in St. Johns Church?(should be altar)Altar - area of religious worshipAlter - to change somethingOccasionally, there is confusion over the words altar and alter.AltarThe word altar is a noun. It denotes an area (usually a table) wherereligious worship or sacrifice occurs.Examples:altar in churcheerie sacrificialaltar
  43. 43. Will you alter this dress for Saturdays play?Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter itevery six months. (Oscar Wilde)Please altar your claim in Section 9.(should be alter; i.e., to amend or change)AlterTo alter is a verb meaning to change something.ladies alter clothesExamples:
  44. 44. ALTAR IS THE ONE TO WATCHPeople rarely use altar when they mean alter, but many usealter when they mean altar.In its catalogue, one reputable website calls this piece "Alter ofthe Hand"."Alter of the Hand".
  45. 45. Click on the correct word in each of the following sentences.You need to your dress. You cannot stand at thelike that.Take them to the and sharpen my knife.Do me a favour, Lee. your casting technique.Youre losing too much equipment.altar /alteraltar /alteraltar /alterAltar /Alter
  46. 46. Altogether means with everything considered.All together means collectively.AltogetherThe adverb altogether means wholly, to the full extent or witheverything considered.I left him altogether convinced that the project will end on time.Altogether Mark earns more than his cousin.Examples:
  47. 47. All TogetherThe term all together pertains to when a group acts or is actedupon collectively. (Of note, there can be other words between alland together.)I want you to sing all together. (I want you all to sing together.)The soldiers stood all together waiting for the plane. (Thesoldiers all stood together waiting for the plane.)I would like to see you all together. (I would like to see all of youtogether.)Examples: