100 Commonly Confused Words in English

SOURCE: www.genlish.com

Take a look at these two sentences – one of them contains a mistake:

  • I poured over book after book.
  • We pored over the catalogues.

Are you uncertain which one is right?

There are a lot of words in English that look or sound alike but have very different meanings, such as pore and pour or flaunt and flout. It’s easy to get them confused and most electronic spellcheckers won’t be much help in this type of situation: they can tell you if a word has been spelled wrongly but they can’t generally flag up the misuse of a correctly spelled word.

Here’s a quick-reference list of pairs of words that regularly cause people problems. The words follow the accepted British English spelling. Some of them do have alternative American spellings and you will find these in the dictionary.

  • accept: to agree to receive or do
  • except: not including

  • adverse: unfavourable, harmful
  • averse: strongly disliking; opposed

  • advice: recommendations about what to do
  • advise: to recommend something

  • affect: to change or make a difference to
  • effect: a result; to bring about a result

  • aisle: a passage between rows of seats
  • isle: an island

  • all together: all in one place, all at once
  • altogether: completely; on the whole

  • along: moving or extending horizontally on
  • a long: referring to something of great length

  • aloud: out loud
  • allowed: permitted

  • altar: a sacred table in a church
  • alter: to change

  • amoral: not concerned with right or wrong
  • immoral: not following accepted moral standards

  • appraise: to assess
  • apprise: to inform someone

  • assent: agreement, approval
  • ascent: the action of rising or climbing up

  • aural: relating to the ears or hearing
  • oral: relating to the mouth; spoken

  • balmy: pleasantly warm
  • barmy: foolish, crazy

  • bare: naked; to uncover
  • bear: to carry; to put up with

  • bated: in phrase ‘with bated breath’, i.e. in great suspense
  • baited: with bait attached or inserted

  • bazaar: a Middle Eastern market
  • bizarre: strange

  • berth: a bunk in a ship, train, etc.
  • birth: the emergence of a baby from the womb

  • born: having started life
  • borne: carried

  • bough: a branch of a tree
  • bow: to bend the head; the front of a ship

  • brake: a device for stopping a vehicle; to stop a vehicle
  • break: to separate into pieces; a pause

  • breach: to break through, or break a rule; a gap
  • breech: the back part of a gun barrel

  • broach: to raise a subject for discussion
  • brooch: a piece of jewellery

  • canvas: a type of strong cloth
  • canvass: to seek people’s votes

  • censure: to criticize strongly
  • censor: to ban parts of a book or film; a person who does this

  • cereal: a grass producing an edible grain; a breakfast food made from grains
  • serial: happening in a series

  • chord: a group of musical notes
  • cord: a length of string; a cord-like body part

  • climactic: forming a climax
  • climatic: relating to climate

  • coarse: rough
  • course: a direction; a school subject; part of a meal

  • complacent: smug and self-satisfied
  • complaisant: willing to please

  • complement: to add to so as to improve; an addition that improves something
  • compliment: to praise or express approval; an admiring remark

  • council: a group of people who manage or advise
  • counsel: advice; to advise

  • cue: a signal for action; a wooden rod
  • queue: a line of people or vehicles

  • curb: to keep something in check; a control or limit
  • kerb: (in British English) the stone edge of a pavement
  • currant: a dried grape
  • current: happening now; a flow of water, air, or electricity

  • defuse: to make a situation less tense
  • diffuse: to spread over a wide area

  • desert: a waterless, empty area; to abandon someone
  • dessert: the sweet course of a meal

  • discreet: careful not to attract attention
  • discrete: separate and distinct

  • disinterested: impartial
  • uninterested: not interested

  • draught: a current of air
  • draft: a first version of a piece of writing

  • draw: an even score at the end of a game
  • drawer: a sliding storage compartment

  • dual: having two parts
  • duel: a fight or contest between two people

  • elicit: to draw out a reply or reaction
  • illicit: not allowed by law or rules

  • ensure: to make certain that something will happen
  • insure: to provide compensation if a person dies or property is damaged
  • envelop: to cover or surround
  • envelope: a paper container for a letter

  • exercise: physical activity; to do physical activity
  • exorcise: to drive out an evil spirit

  • fawn: a young deer; light brown
  • faun: a mythical being, part man, part goat

  • flaunt: to display ostentatiously
  • flout: to disregard a rule

  • flounder: to move clumsily; to have difficulty doing something
  • founder: to fail

  • forbear: to refrain
  • forebear” an ancestor

  • foreword: an introduction to a book
  • forward: onwards, ahead

Source: oxford dictionary

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »