Commonly Confused Words in English

The English language is full of words that English learners - and even native English speakers - often confuse


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  • ACCEPT - Agree to receive or do vs. EXCEPT - Not including
  • ADVERSE - Unfavourable or harmful vs. AVERSE - Strongly dislike or opposed to
  • ADVICE - Recommendation of what to do vs. ADVISE - Recommend something
  • AFFECT - Change or make a difference to vs. EFFECT - A result or to bring about a result
  • AISLE - Passage between rows of seats vs. ISLE - An island
  • ALL TOGETHER - All in one place or all at once vs. ALTOGETHER - Completely or on the whole
  • ALONG - Moving or extending horizontally on vs. A LONG - Refers to something of great length
  • ALOUD - Out loud vs. ALLOWED - Permitted
  • ALTAR - Sacred table in a church vs. ALTER - To change something
  • AMORAL - Unconcerned with right or wrong vs. IMMORAL - Not follow moral standards
  • APPRAISE - To access vs. APPRAISE - Inform someone
  • ASSENT - Agree or approval vs. ASCENT - Rising or climbing up
  • AURAL - Relating to ears or hearing vs. ORAL - Relates to the mouth or spoken word
  • BALMY - Pleasingly warm vs. BARMY - Foolish or crazy
  • BARE – be naked or to uncover vs. BEAR - To carry or put up with something
  • BATED - Hold in a great suspense vs. BAITED - With bait attached
  • BAZAAR - A market in the Middle East vs. BIZARRE - Strange
  • BERTH - A sleeping bunk in a ship or train vs. BIRTH - Emergence of a baby from a womb
  • BORN - Having started a life vs. BORNE – Carried

  • DISINTERESTED – Impartial vs. UNINTERESTED - Not interested
  • DRAUGHT - Current of air vs. DRAFT - First version of a piece of writing
  • DRAW - Even score at the end of game vs. DRAWER - Sliding storage compartment
  • DUAL - Having two parts vs. DUEL - Contest between two participants
  • ELICIT - Draw out a reply or reaction vs. ILLICIT - Not allowed by law or against rules
  • ENSURE - Make certain something happens vs. INSURE - Pre-arrange to get compensation
  • ENVELOP - Cover or surround something vs. ENVELOPE - Paper container for a letter
  • EXERCISE - Physical activity vs. EXORCISE - Drive out an evil spirit
  • FAWN - Young deer or light brown colour vs. FAUN - A goat with a human head, which is considered harmless
  • FLAUNT - Display ostentatiously vs. FLOUT - Disregard a rule or law
  • FLOUNDER - Move clumsily or have difficulty vs. FOUNDER - Starter of something or metal caster
  • FORBEAR - Refrain from something vs. FOREBEAR - Ancestor
  • FOREWORD - Introduction at start of a book vs. FORWARD - Onwards or ahead
  • FREEZE - Turn into ice vs. FRIEZE - Decoration along a wall
  • GRISLY - Gruesome or revolting vs. GRIZZLY - Type of bear
  • HOARD - Stock or stash of money or things vs. HORDE - Large crowd of people
  • IMPLY - Indirectly suggest something vs. INFER - Draw a conclusion from
  • LOATH - Reluctant or unwilling vs. LOATHE – To hate someone or something
  • LOOSE - Set free or unfasten vs. LOSE - Be deprived of or fail to win

  • BOW - Front of a ship or to bend the head vs. BOUGH - Branch of a tree
  • BREAK - Pause or separate into pieces vs. BRAKE - Device for stopping something
  • BREECH - Back parts of a gun barrel vs. BREACH - Break through or break a rule
  • BROOCH - Piece of jewellery vs. BROACH - Raise a subject for discussion
  • CANVASS - Seek someone’s vote vs. CANVAS - Strong type of cloth
  • SERIAL - Happening in a series vs. CEREAL - Breakfast food or edible grain
  • CLIMATIC - Relating to the climate vs. CLIMACTIC - Creating a climax
  • COURSE - Direction, school subject, part of meal vs. COARSE - Rough or uneven
  • COMPLIMENT - Express approval or admiring remark vs. COMPLEMENT - Something added that improves
  • COUNSEL - Advice or to advise vs. COUNCIL - Group that manages or advised
  • QUEUE - Row of people or vehicle vs. CUE - Signal to act or a wooden rod
  • CURRENT - Happening now, flow of fluid/electricity vs. CURRANT - Dried grape
  • DESSERT - Sweet course of a meal vs. DESERT - Waterless, empty area or abandon


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