Commonly Misused or Confused English Words

English is full of words that sound alike but are spelled differently.It’s also full of words that have similar (but not identical) meanings that are easy to misuse.


Below are some of the most commonly confused and misused words in English.

  • Accept/ except:

Incorrect: Please except this gift.

Correct: Please accept this gift.

Except, as a verb, means to exclude or leave out. As a preposition it means “with the exception of”. Accept means “to receive willingly”. For example: We visited every landmark except the Eiffel Tower. The school is accepting only those students who have had their shots; all others are excepted.

  • Effect/ affect:

Incorrect: His death really effected me.

Correct: His death really affected me.

The most common use of effect is as a noun meaning “something produced by a cause”. The most common use of affect is as a transitive verb meaning “to act upon”. For example: The disease had a lasting effect on the child. The family’s lack of money affected his plans.

  • Farther/further:

Farther is the comparative of the adjective far. It is used as an adverb to mean “to or at a more advanced point.”

For example: He rode farther down the road. 

Some speakers argue a difference between the adverbial uses of farther and further. In general usage, however, the choice between farther and further is a matter of preference.

For example: He rode further down the road.

  • Less/ fewer:

Incorrect: This box contains less fire crackers.

Correct: This box contains fewer fire crackers.

Less is used with uncounted nouns.

For examples: less soup, less intelligence, less forage...

Fewer is used with countable nouns.

For examples: fewer voters, fewer apples, fewer commercials...

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Commonly Misused or Confused English Words

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