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Let's Play With the Words (Illustration on How to Avoid Word Mistakes)


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Design & concept credit: Mashroor Faiyaz Khan

No matter how much we think we may have mastered it, the English language has some nooks and crannies we often tend to overlook. In this segment we aspire to reveal some of the most well-guarded secrets of English, secrets which, at times, catch even the greatest of linguists by surprise.

So here is a list of words we sometimes mistake or confuse for other words. We hope you will like our efforts to make your speaking and writing one step closer to flawless. Your opinions will be much appreciated.

Published in: Education
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Let's Play With the Words (Illustration on How to Avoid Word Mistakes)

  2. 2. Some words in the English language are easy to confuse Trying to choose the appropriate word may sometimes leave you…
  3. 3. In order to help you, we’ve broken down the meanings and showed appropriate uses of some of these easy-to-confuse words
  4. 4. Farther Linda’s school was farther from her house than she initially thought. Further After a lot of debate, all further meetings were postponed. VS.
  5. 5. Compliment He showered me with compliments whenever I performed well. Complement Her make-up complemented her clothes perfectly. VS.
  6. 6. They’re Their Their behavior with the elderly caught my attention. VS. They’re playing cricket in the field adjacent to the park.
  7. 7. Advice We got some good advice on what to do with all our old stuff. Advise The teacher advised us to go to sleep early. VS.
  8. 8. Formally Elderly professors should be addressed formally at first encounter. Formerly My neighbor, who is a retired wrestler, was formerly known as ‘the alligator’. VS.
  9. 9. Adverse Cigarettes have many adverse effects on the human body. Averse Richard seems to be averse to exercise. VS.
  10. 10. Discreet With a discreet gesture, she signaled to her husband that she was ready to leave the party. Discrete Whale communities were sometimes thought of as discrete communities, seldom mixing. VS.
  11. 11. Affect The manager’s harsh attitude affected Billy’s performance. Effect Good grades in college will have a positive effect on your career. VS.
  12. 12. Criteria Most jobs have a specific set of criteria which the employees must meet. Criterion The only criterion for this job is punctuality, VS.
  13. 13. Elicit I hope today’s comedy show will elicit a lot of laughter. Illicit John was forbidden to consume alcohol, use illicit drugs, or possess a gun. VS.
  14. 14. i.e. Many workers expect to put in a forty-hour week — i.e., to work eight hours a day e.g. She loved exotic fruit, e.g., mangoes, passion fruit, and papayas. VS.
  15. 15. Imply Many researchers seem to imply that the whole civilization is going to collapse. Infer Scientists can infer the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere from the amount of organics in the sediment. VS.
  16. 16. Insure By setting a policy, they might insure the company from lawsuits. Ensure She ensured that the hotel manager heard her words loud & clear. VS.
  17. 17. Into He hurried into the room five minutes after the meeting had started. In to He decided to call in to the meeting before leaving the house. VS.
  18. 18. It’s It’s not my fault that he couldn’t go to school today. Its My dog wags its tail to attract attention. VS.
  19. 19. Number Amount The amount of water I drank was meagre compared to my thirst. VS. It was very difficult to make accurate calculations of the number of lives lost.
  20. 20. I Me When the report is done processing, please forward it to me. VS. You & I will forward her the report once it’s done processing.
  21. 21. Precede Proceed You may now proceed to the next stage of the exam. VS. The speech that preceded the act was a waste of time.
  22. 22. Who’s Whose It was Dave whose team was known for optimism. VS. Who’s responsible for breaking my window?
  23. 23. Who That I never found the phone that I lost last year. VS. Any kid who wants to can learn to swim.
  24. 24. You’re Your You must collect your exam scripts from the class monitor. VS. You’re exactly the type of person I was told to avoid.
  25. 25. Principal Principle The manager had a set list of principles for the employees to learn. VS. Student misconduct was the principal concern of the teacher.
  26. 26. Loathe Loath Darren was loath to leaving his family behind. VS. She loathed her new English teacher.