100 Commonly Confused Words in English

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    Learn English 2
    Sophia
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    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.

    Learn English 3

    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: oxforddictionaries.com

     

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