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Commonly Misused Words: 100+ Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases

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Commonly Misused Words! English has a lot of commonly misused words. They either look alike, sound alike or, worst of all, look and sound alike but have completely different meanings. Other words look and sound different but are similar in meaning, and it’s hard to determine which is the correct one in a given context.

Hopefully, the following list of pairs of commonly misused words will help you keep them straightened out.

Commonly Misused Words in English

List of Commonly Misused Words

Here is a list of commonly misused words in English without explanations:

  • Affect/Effect
  • Accept/Except
  • Advise/Advice
  • Allusion/Illusion
  • Complement/Compliment
  • Emigrate/Immigrate
  • Fewer/Less
  • Imply/Infer
  • Its/It’s
  • Loose/Lose
  • There/Their/They’re
  • Who/Whom
  • Your/You’re
  • Lie/Lay
  • Stationary/Stationery
  • Peak/Peek/Pique
  • Principal/Principle
  • Than/Then
  • To/Too/Two
  • Weather/Whether

Commonly Misused Words with Meanings

Accept vs. Except

  • accept (verb) – to receive
    He accepted the invitation to stay with us.
  • except (conjunction) – apart from; otherwise than; were it not true
    When Susan travels, she packs everything except the kitchen sink.

Affect vs. Effect

  • Affect (verb) – to have an effect on; influence; produce a change in; to stir the emotions
    Trading has been adversely affected by the downturn in consumer spending.
  • Effect (noun) – anything brought about by a cause or agent; result
    Eating junk food will eventually have an effect on your health.

Bad vs. Badly

  • Bad (adjective) – not good
    I have some bad news for you.
  • Badly (adverb) – not well; in a bad manner; harmfully; incorrectly; wickedly; unpleasantly
    The company has been very badly managed.

Breath vs. Breathe

  • Breath (noun) – air taken into the lungs and then let out
    Leo could smell the wine on her breath.
  • Breathe (verb) – to inhale and exhale
    The room filled with smoke, and it was becoming difficult to breathe.

Complement vs. Compliment

  • Complement (noun) – that which completes or brings to perfection; (verb) – to make complete
    We’ve taken our full complement of trainees this year.
  • Compliment (noun) – something said in admiration, praise, or flattery; (verb) – to pay a compliment to; congratulate
    All the guests paid her extravagant compliments.

Seen vs. Saw

  • Seen (verb) – past participle of the verb see; must be used with the verbs has, have, or had
    By mid-morning I had seen enough step wells and gonged enough bells to see me through lifetimes.
  • Saw (verb) – past tense of the verb see
    I saw the movie yesterday.

Principal vs. Principle

  • Principal (noun) – a governing or presiding officer, specifically of a school; (adjective) – first in rank, authority, importance, degree,…
    His comments on Paul Caton, the deputy principal, were gratuitously offensive.
  • Principle (noun) – a fundamental truth, law, doctrine, or motivating force, upon which others are based
    Schools try to teach children a set of principles.

Site vs. Sight

  • Sight (noun) – something seen, a view, field of vision
    She was a sight for sore eyes.
  • Site (noun) – a piece of land considered for a specific purpose
    The corner lot was a perfect site for the new shopping center.

To vs. Too vs. Two

  • To (preposition) – in the direction of and reaching; as far as; to the extent of
    She stood up and walked to the window.
  • Too (adverb) – in addition; as well; besides; also; more than enough; superfluously; overly; to a regrettable extent; extremely
    Do you think the music’s too loud?
  • Two (adjective) the number 2
    I’ll be away for almost two weeks.

Commonly Misused Words | Images

Commonly Misused Words

Confused Words in English

Confused Words in English


Confused Words in English

Confused Words in English

Confused Words in English


Bob Cajun

Wednesday 2nd of March 2022

What about biannual vs. biennial or triannual vs. triennial?


Tuesday 9th of November 2021

confused words in english


Thursday 23rd of September 2021

cherry cherry cheerry bonbon!

Usha metre

Thursday 29th of October 2020

I liked this page to learn better english

Rumel Ahmed

Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Certainly helpful for us