Complete List of Mostly Confused Words, Confused Words List

Complete List of Mostly Confused Words, Confused Words List

• A •
a lot A lot is two words meaning “much”: A lot of bologna was left over from the party.
a while A while is two words meaning “a short period of time”: I will meet you in a while.
a A is an indefinite article to be used before nouns beginning with a consonant: a photograph, a tree, a horse.
an An is to be used before nouns beginning with a vowel (or vowel sound): an apple, an hour, an elephant.
and And is a conjunction used between nouns in a list: A blanket and picnic basket are needed for the afternoon.
accede Accede means “to agree or allow”: Hiram Cheaply finallyacceded to accepting the presidency of the company.
exceed Exceed means “to go beyond, to surpass”: The amount of alcohol in his blood exceeded the previous record.
accept Accept means “to take willingly”: Miss Deeds accepted the cup of hot tea even without a saucer.
except Except is a preposition meaning “excluding”: Everyone was disappointed with the party except Ida Goodtime.
adapt Adapt means “to adjust”: Minnie Miles quickly adapted to living away from home.
adept Adept means “skilled”: Lucille is adept at speaking languages.
adopt Adopt means to “accept as your own”: It was difficult to adopt only one puppy from the animal shelter.
adverse Adverse means “unfavorable, hostile”: Those driving in adverse winter conditions may be putting themselves at risk.
averse Averse means “unwilling or repelled”: She was immediately averse to the idea.
advice Advice is a noun meaning “an opinion given with the intention of helping”: My mother still gives me advice even though I’m 40 years old.
advise Advise is a verb meaning “to give counsel or advice”: The meteorologist advised listeners to stay indoors because of the extremely cold temperatures.
affect Affect is most often used as a verb meaning “to influence”: The president’s speech affected his views of the upcoming election.
effect The verb effect means “to cause”: Batting her eyes so flirtatiously effected a strong desire in Rathbone to embrace Mirabelle.
aid Aid is help or assistance given: Every Christmas the community gives aid to those less fortunate.
aide An aide is a person who helps: Frieda Gogh worked five years as a teacher’s aide.
airs Airs refers to snobbish and artificial behavior: Portia Radclyffe put on airs at the fine dinner party just because she had a few diamonds.
heirs Heirs are people who, because they are family, will inherit an estate or title.
all right All right is a phrase meaning “everything is right”: Is all right here?
alright Alright is a single word meaning “OK”: Is everything alright here?
all together All together is applied to people or things that are being treated as a whole: We always had fun when we were all together. To double check this usage, try separating the two words: We all had fun when were together.
altogether Altogether is an adverb that means “completely or totally”: Using a flashlight in bed is an altogether new approach to reading.
all ways All ways means “by every means or method”: Dirk tried all ways to navigate the storm.
always Always means “forever”: Sue St. Marie always responded calmly during emergency situations.
allude Allude means “to suggest indirectly”: Leticia can’t speak to her husband without alluding to his affair with Martha Snodgrass.
elude Elude means “to dodge or escape”: Serious relationships always seemed to elude him.
allusion An allusion is a subtle reference or hint: Rita Book made an allusion to the most recent novel she read in our conversation yesterday.
illusion An illusion is a deception, mirage, or a wild idea: The teacher said she had no illusions about how much work teaching demands.
almost Almost means “nearly all”: Almost all my friends have graduated from college by now.
most Most is superlative of more, meaning “the greatest or to the highest degree”: Chuck is the most computer savvy guy I know, or Chuck cooked a most delicious supper.
aloud Aloud means “speaking so that someone else can hear you”: Read this paragraph aloud.
allowed Allowed means “having permission”: His boss allowed him to take the weekend off.
already, all ready Already is an adverb that indicates an action is completed by a certain time: Herschel had already finished that whole pie.
All ready means “everything is completely prepared”: The children were all ready and bundled up warmly to go caroling on the snowy evening.
alternately Alternately means “taking turns”: We paddled alternately so neither of us would get too tired.
alternatively Alternatively means “as an option”: Instead of going by train, we could have gone alternatively by car.
ambiguous Ambiguous is describes a phrase or act with more than one meaning, or one that is unclear: The ending of the short story is ambiguous; we don’t know if he died or continue his journey.
ambivalent Ambivalent means “uncertainty and having conflicting attitudes and feelings”: He was ambivalent as to which candidate to vote for.
amiable Amiable refers to a person who is friendly, good-natured, and pleasant: Susan was very amiable and liked immediately.
amicable Amicable means “friendly and peaceable”, and is used to describe agreements or relationships between groups or people: After years of disagreement, the two countries came to an amicable agreement.
among Among is used for three or more: Shirley had to choose among three universities she might attend.
between Between is used for two things: I couldn’t decide between blue and green.
amoral Amoral means “having no principles at all, good or bad”: Percy is totally amoral; he is either helping others or helping himself at their expense.
immoral Immoral means “bad, lacking good principles”: Everything his brother does harms others whether it benefits him or not.
amount Amount is used with uncountable and abstract nouns: a large amount of money, amount of work, amount of happiness or amount of dirt.
number Number is used with countable and concrete plural expressions: a number of people, a number of attempts, a number of novels, a number of trials.
amused Amused is when something is entertaining: The children were amused by watching the kittens play.
bemused Bemused means “bewildered” or “lost in thought”: George was bemused by the unexpected ending to the movie.
annual Annual means “yearly”: We must pay an annual tax.
annul Annul means “to make void or invalid”: They want to annul the marriage.
any one Any one means “any one person”: Any one of you may go, but not all of you.
anyone Anyone means “anybody, any person at all”: Anyone can chew gum and walk at the same time.
anyway Anywayanywhere, and nowhere are the correct forms.
apart Apart is an adverb meaning “in pieces”: My plan for my vacation fell apart.
a part A part is a noun meaning “one section of”: A part of my heart left when he did.
appraise Appraise is to assess or estimate the worth of: to appraise a diamond.
apprise Apprise is to inform or notify: the officer apprised us of our rights.
arcane Arcane refers to things known and understood by few people: Amanda Lynn teaches arcane theories of modern music at the college.
archaic Archaic refers to things very, very old and outdated: The Oxford English Dictionary contains many words that are archaic.
as As may be used as a conjunction that introduce dependent clauses: George talks as his father does. Informally, it may also be used as a preposition in comparative constructions like: Jean-Claude is as forgetful as me (or as I am).
like Like is a preposition is followed by a noun or pronoun: George looks like his mother. It may also be used as an adjective meaning “similar”: George and I have like minds.
ascent Ascent is an upward movement: Leo’s ascent to the presidency of the company came slowly.
assent Assent means “to agree to”: Greta could not begin the project unless management assented.
ascetic An ascetic is a person who renounces all material comforts, often for religious devotion: the young man lead his ascetic lifestyle despite his parents’ plans for him. It can also be used as an adjective: Ethan Asia led an ascetic lifestyle.
aesthetic Aesthetic refers to the philosophy of beauty or the pleasing qualities of something: The statuette Leander created was lacking in aesthetic qualities.
ascribe Ascribe means “to attribute to”: She ascribed her feelings of jealousy to insecurity.
describe Describe means “to show what something is by drawing a picture with words”: Describe in detail what the man looked like.
aspersion Aspersion is slander, a damaging remark: The campaign was filled with one aspersion after another.
dispersion Dispersion is the act of scattering: The dispersion of seeds was irregular because he sowed the seeds by hand.
assent See ascent, assent.
assistance Assistance is help or aid: the nurses gave assistance to the patients.
assistants Assistants are more than one assistant, a person who gives help: the emergency room assistants were ready to help anyone who came through the door. (See also patience and patients.)
assure Assure means “to guarantee”: He assured her it was a quality item.
ensure Ensure means “to make sure by double checking”: The custodian ensured the doors to the school were locked at night.
insure Insure means “to provide insurance”: It is wise to insure your house against flood, fire, or theft.
auger An auger is a tool used for digging holes: If you want to ice fish, you need to first drill a hole in the ice with an auger.
augur Augur means “to predict, forecast”: Leroy’s inheritance augured happiness for him in the future.
• B •
bad Bad is an adjective used after verbs like am, feel, is, seem, and become: They felt bad. (Using badly here would mean that their skill at feeling is poor).
badly Badly is an adverb used after other verbs: They played badly. Badly can also mean “greatly”: They needed food badly.
baited Baited usually refers to traps: Baiting deer in order to hunt them is illegal in most states.
bated Bated is seldom used but means “reduced, abated”: Jessica bated her pace to let her running mate catch up.
bare Bare means “naked”: Walking in grass with bare feet is refreshing.
bear Bear is the animal, and also means “to carry”: Sherman must bear the burden of flunking math twice.
bazaar Bazaar is an exhibition, market, or fair: The Saturday morning bazaar is worth seeing even if you buy nothing.
bizarre Bizarre means “weird and unworldly”: Barry told us a bizarre story last night.
belief Belief is a noun: He had strong beliefs.
believe Believe is a verb: She believes she can do anything.
beside Beside means “next to”: Place the dishes beside the sink.
besides Besides is an adverb or preposition that means “also, additionally”: I would enjoy going on a vacation besides.
better Had better is the correct form, used when giving advice that hints at an undesirable consequence if not followed: You had better go to the doctor. Don’t leave out have.
had better
between See among, between.
biannual Biannual is twice in one year: My trip to the dentist is a biannual event.
biennial Biennial means “every two years”: These flowers are biennial; they bloom every two years.
bimonthly Bimonthly means “every two months”: We order from the co-op bimonthly.
semimonthly Semimonthly means “twice a month (biweekly)”: We have our house cleaned semimonthly.
blithe Blithe, an adjective, means “lighthearted and carefree”: A blithe mood overcomes us in the spring.
lithe Lithe is also an adjective but it means “flexible, graceful, and supple”: The lithe movements of the yoga instructor impressed us all.
blonde Blonde describes women: Brunettes have just as much fun as blondes (blonde women).
blond Blond describes men: Sean was not a natural blond. This distinction is not necessary though: blond is now generally accepted for both men and women.
board Board means a few things. One is “a long sheet of wood”: Hiram had to cut the board to make the shelves. It also means “a committee”: The board of directors met to decide the fate of the school. Lastly, it can mean “to get onto”: She boarded the ship.
bored Bored means “not interested”: She is bored by the dry lecture.
bore bore is a boring or tiresome person or thing: Jasper is such a bore when he talks about his cats!
boar boar is a male pig: Wild boars abound in this forest.
boor boor is an unrefined, vulgar person: What a boor Guy was to get drunk at the wedding and embarrass everyone.
born Born is newly coming into life: A child was born at 12:01 New Year’s day.
borne Borne means “carried”: All gossip is borne by an ill wind.
borrow Borrow is to receive something from someone temporarily: to borrow a book and then return it.
lend Lend is a verb that mean “to temporarily give something to someone”: Henry will lend (or loan) Francine a book.
loan Loan is a noun: a bank loan. Loan is often used in American English as a verb meaning “to lend”: Loan me a book, please.
braise Braise means “to cook (usually meat) slowly in liquid”: Braised meat is usually tender.
braze To braze is to solder or create with metals such as bronze: Shirley brazed a statue of a famous Civil War leader.
brake Brake means “to stop”: You should brake slowly on ice.
break Break means “to smash”: To break a mirror brings seven years of worse luck than you are having now.
breath Breath is a noun meaning “the air pulled into the lungs”: Take a deep breath and relax.
breathe Breathe, with an E on the end, is a verb: Just breathe deeply and calm down.
bridal Bridal has to do a bride and her wedding: June May threw her bridal bouquet to the screaming crowd of single women.
bridle bridle is a halter or restraint, such as a horse bridle: Old Frosty didn’t like the bridle over his head.
by By is a preposition meaning “next to”: Park the car by the house.
buy Buy means “purchase”: Grandpa buys an ice cream cone every Sunday afternoon.
bye Bye means “farewell or good-bye”: Bye, now; I’ll see you later.
• C •
can’t hardly This expression is a nonstandard double negative (hardly is considered negative), so avoid it. It is better to say can hardly: I can hardly hear you over the noise of the party!Hardly.
canvas Canvas is cloth or fabric: a canvas bag to bring to the beach.
canvass Canvass means “to conduct a survey or examine thoroughly”, or “to seek votes”: She canvassed all the stores before she found the right dress.
capital capital is where the seat of government is: The capital of the United States is Washington DC. Capital can also mean “wealth” or “a large letter”.
capitol The Capitol (usually capitalized) is the actual building in which the government and legislature meets: We will travel to the Capitol this weekend.
censor Censor is to prohibit free expression: The principal censored all references to smoking in school publications.
sensor sensor is something that interprets stimulation: The lights are turned on by a movement sensor.
censure Censure is rebuke, harsh criticism: Morty Skustin was severely censured for putting the frog in the water cooler.
cite Cite means “to quote or mention”: He cited a famous theorist in his speech.
site Site is a noun meaning “a place”: At which site will we stage the party?
sight Sight is a noun meaning “view”: The sight of the New York City skyline is spectacular.
climactic Climactic refers to the peak: Wendell sneezed right at the climactic moment of a movie.
climatic Climatic refers to the climate and weather: New Monia is known for its dramatic climatic changes.
coarse Coarse is an adjective meaning “rough, big-grained, not fine”: We need to use coarse sandpaper to remove the paint from this wood.
course Course is a noun referring to a direction (the course of a ship) or a series of lectures on one subject (a history course in college): The poetry course Stu deBaker took in colldge changed the course of his life.
collaborate Collaborate means “to work together”: Collaborate with the people on your team.
corroborate Corroborate means “to support with evidence” or “prove true”: The testimony was corroborated with evidence of his innocence.
complement Complement means “to supplement” or “make complete”: Their two personalities complement each other.
compliment Compliment means “to praise or congratulate”: She received a compliment on her sense of fashion.
compose Compose means to “make up” and is often used in the passive voice: The class is composed of students of several nationalities.
comprise Comprise means “have, consist of, or include”: Students of several nationalities comprise the class. A rule to remember would be that the whole comprises its parts, and the parts compose the whole.
concurrent Concurrent simultaneous or happening at the same time as something else: concurrent blizzards in three different states.
consecutive Consecutive means “successive or one after another”: The state had three consecutive blizzards that month.
conform Conform means “to be similar to”: Some schools conform their students by using uniforms.
confirm Confirm is to make sure or double check: to confirm a flight reservation.
congenial Congenial describes something likeable, suitable to taste: They enjoy the congenial surroundings in their home.
congenital Congenital refers to a condition present at birth because of heredity: Raymond has a congenital heart defect.
connote Connote means to “imply or suggest”: ‘Home’ connotes warmth and safety.
denote Denote means to “indicate specifically, to mean”: ‘Home’ denotes the place where you live.
conscience Conscience is the feeling or knowledge of right and wrong: My conscience wouldn’t allow me to compete with someone so much weaker than me.
conscious Conscious refers to being awake and aware: Molly Coddle was still conscious after banging her head on the headboard.
continual Continual means “repeated with breaks in between”: We need continual rain throughout the summer for crops to grow.
continuous Continuous means “without stopping”: The continuous drumming of the rain on the windows put Herman to sleep.
convince Convince is to cause another to feel sure or believe something to be true: Well, Argyle Greenpasture has convinced me that aliens do exist.
persuade Persuade is to talk someone into doing something: Percy persuaded me to help him wash his car.
co-operation Co-operation means “working together”: I would like to thank you for your cooperation with us on the project.
corporation corporation is a large company: Presidents of large corporations receive tens of millions of dollars in salary.
corps Corps (pronounced ‘core’) is an organization of people dedicated to a single goal: Lucinda joined the Peace Corps after college.
core core is the center of a fruit containing seeds: Bartholomew eats apples, core and all.
corpse corpse is a dead body: The corpse of Danny’s dog was lovingly laid to rest in the back yard.
correspondence Correspondence is agreement or written communication such as letters or news articles: Phil and Rachel continued their correspondence for years.
correspondents Correspondents are those who write this communication: Rhoda Lott has lived abroad as a news correspondent for several years.
could not care less This expression is often confusing for English language learners. It is always used with a negative and means that you really don’t care at all: Since she was sick, Mona could not care less about doing her homework, or Mona could not care less which color sweater she wore.
council council is a group of people called together to meet on an issue: The school board council meets every Thursday evening.
counsel Counsel is advice: I always go to Clyde for counsel on the tough decision in my life.
consul consul is a diplomat appointed to protect the citizens and commercial interests of one country in another: If you need help starting a business in France, talk to the US consul in Paris.
creak Creak can be the noun or verb for a squeak or groan: The creak of the floorboards alerted Nell that Bernard was sneaking up on her.
creek creek is a small stream: The kids loved to play in the creek on a hot summer day.
credible Credible means “believable or reliable”: There is no credible evidence that it was I who broke the lamp.
creditable Creditable means “worthy of praise or respect”: I couldn’t have broken the lamp because I have a creditable alibi.
criteria Criterion is singular: There is only one criterion for this job.
criterion Criteria is plural: Several criteria need to be met in order for us to move forward.
custom custom is a cultural tradition: It is a custom in Japan to remove your shoes when entering a home.
costume costume is the outfit worn to represent a particular time, event, or culture: What is your costume for Halloween going to be?
• D •
dairy dairy is a farm where milk and milk products are produced: Madeleine grew up on a dairy and knows how to churn butter.
diary diary is the daily journal kept: Rhoda Book writes in her diary for two hours every night.
deduction Deduction is drawing a general principle from particular facts or instances: I’ve seen hundreds of robins and they all have red breasts. (General principle-all robins have red breasts. )
induction Induction is the explanation of particular facts or instances from a general principle: That bird must be a robin because it has a red breast. (General principle-all robins have red breasts. )
denote See connote, denote.
describe See ascribe, describe.
desert Desert means “to abandon” (and can also be a noun, meaning “a wasteland”): Cooley deserted his family when they all got tattoos and lip piercings.
dessert Dessert is the sweet course of a meal: The whole family wanted to have cake for dessert.
device device is an instrument used to perform a task: This device will peel apples for you.
devise Devise is to create or invent: They will devise a scheme to continue the business.
diary See dairy, diary.
divers Divers means “several”: You can take that statement in divers ways.
diverse Diverse means “different or varied”: There are many diverse cultures in the world.
different from Different from is the standard usage when comparing two things: Suzie’s sweater is different from Mary’s. Don’t say, “Different than something else.”
different than
discreet Discreet means “modest and prudent”: Please be discreet about the surprise party, we don’t want her to find out.
discrete Discrete means “separate and distinct”: Even though they were married, they kept their money in two discrete accounts.
disinterested Disinterested is an adjective that means “unbiased or impartial”: Since she had nothing at stake, she was a disinterested party in the matter.
uninterested Uninterested means “not interested”: Anita Job was just uninterested in the offer.
dispersion See aspersion, dispersion.
• E •
e. g. e. g. is a Latin abbreviation meaning “for example”: Lucille doesn’t like fruit, e.g. pears, apples, grapes, and bananas.
i. e. i. e. is a Latin abbreviation meaning “that is (to say)”: Myrtle had to leave the room, i.e. she had to go to the bathroom.
each other Use each other when only two objects are involved: The twins love each other.
one another Use one another in referring to more than two objects: The triplets all love one another.
each These are singular distributive pronouns; use them with a singular verb. Each refers to a single individual in a group: Each of us voted differently.
every Every refers to all the members of a group inclusively: Every one of us voted the same.
effect See affect, effect.
elicit Elicit is a verb that means “to draw out”: The teacher had trouble eliciting responses from the students.
illicit Illicit is an adjective meaning “illegal or illegitimate”: Illicit drugs or illicit behavior may help you enter jail.
elude See allude, elude.
emigrant An emigrant is a person who leaves his native country to settle in another: The emigrants left everything behind in search of something more.
immigrant An immigrant refers is person who moves to a new country: Many immigrants settle in this country every year.
emigrate Emigrate from means “to leave one’s country”: Frances emigrated to the US.
immigrate Immigrate to means “to settle in another country”: Her family immigrated to the US four generations ago.
eminent Eminent means “of high rank, outstanding, or prestigious”: An eminent author came to read at the university.
emanant Emanant means “sending or issuing forth”: Emanant thoughts like those should be kept to yourself.
imminent Imminent means “close to happening or near”: Everyone waited anxiously for an imminent storm predicted to arrive shortly.
enervate Innervate means “to supply with nerves or vitality”: The therapist innervated the shoulders with massage.
innervate Enervate is to weaken or destroy the vitality of: The negative attitude enervated her enthusiasm.
entomology Entomology refers to the study of insects: Donald couldn’t be afraid of bugs if he wanted to get a degree in entomology.
etymology Etymology is the study of the history of words and where they come from: The etymology of mortify goes back to Latin mortuus “dead”. is nice.
etc. Etc. is Latin for et cetera and means “and so on”: You need to bring plates, knives, forks, spoons, etc. to the table. It is a good idea, however, to just finish the list, not letting it end with etc. But if you must, use a phrase like “and so on”, “and so forth”.
ethereal Ethereal describes something that is light, airy, and intangible: Ethereal clouds hovered above; Everything in the ballroom looked ethereal.
ephemeral Ephemeral refers to anything lasting for a short period: Truth can be an ephemeral thing; A creek can be ephemeral if it disappears in the middle of summer.
everyone Everyone means “each person”: Everyone in the room must leave immediately.
every one Every one refers to each thing or person individually: Felice put every one of the eggs in the basket.
exceed See accede, exceed.
except See accept, except.
explicit Explicit means “clear and direct”: Please give me explicit directions.
implicit Implicit means “indirectly, with some parts understood”: They implicitly agreed to never talk on the subject again.
• F •
fair fair is an exhibition of farm produce usually with a collection of rides and attractions: Every year our family goes to the state fair.
fare fare is the fee you pay to ride public transportation: The fare to ride the bus is affordable in our town.
farther Farther has to do with distance: How much farther is it to Poughkeepsie?
further Further means “additional” or “more”: Please give me further information about the best route to Poughkeepsie.
faze Faze is to distress or disturb: The scrutiny of the media didn’t faze Sharon.
phase phase is a period of development or a period of time in a cycle of events: Stuart went through a phase when all he did was eat hot dogs.
few Few is used when talking about things that can be counted: Lureen has a few ideas; also a few keys, few clouds, few values, few diseases.
less Less is used when talking about things that can’t be counted: Lureen shows less perseverance than we expected; also less distance, less pollution, less rain.
figuratively Figuratively refers to metaphoric speech, not realistic or exact: To say, “Horace died laughing,” is to speak figuratively.
literally Literally refers to realistic or exact speech: If Horace literally died laughing, he must be buried (but it was not such a bad way to go).
flammable These two words both mean “easily set on fire”: a highly flammable/inflammable substance. However, flammable is now used as a warning to avoid misinterpreting the prefix in-as negation.
flare Flare is to increase greatly, burn brightly, or something that provides a bright flame: The fire in the grill flared brightly when Eva tossed gasoline on it.
flair Flair refers to a sense of style or a talent: Dutch Masters has a flair for entertaining a group of men.
flaunt To flaunt means “to show off”: Maud Lynn Dresser likes to flaunt her jewels at parties.
flout To flout means “to show scorn or contempt for”: Larry flouts the speed limit in every state when it suits his schedule.
forbear Forbear means “to refrain from”: The children simply could not forbear laughing in the library.
forebear forebear is an ancestor or forefather: Our forebears who founded this country centuries ago.
foreword foreword is a short introduction at the beginning of a book usually written by someone other than the author: The foreword of the book explains how its thesis fits in with current thinking.
forward Forward is an adverb indicating movement ahead or toward the front: Priscilla moves forward slowly in the line at the grocery store.
forth Forth means “forward, from this point”: Barry moved forth without looking back.
fourth Fourth indicates an object that comes between No. 3 and No. 5: Dustin Moppet just finished cleaning the fourth floor.
foul Foul can means “offensive, rotten, or unfavorable”: Foul language, foul meat, and foul weather are unacceptable at a picnic.
fowl Fowl refers to birds, especially domestic ones: Chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys are considered fowl.
found Found is the past tense of find: I found my glasses only after I had stepped on them!
founded Founded is past tense of the verb found, meaning “to set up or establish”: My ancestors were the ones who founded this country.
founder Founder means “to run aground”: The boat foundered on a shoal in the storm.
flounder Flounder means “to move clumsily, with difficulty” or “to blunder”: Gladys Friday is floundering in college.
• G •
gibe Gibe means “to taunt, jeer, make fun of”: His classmates gibed Billy Earl for wearing his underwear over his clothes.
gybe Gybe means “to swing a fore-and-aft sail from one side of a sailboat to the other to change course”: When the wind shifted, Felix gybed when he should have tacked.
jibe Jibe refers to being in agreement: Our views on everything from baseball to Socrates seem to jibe.
gorilla gorilla is a large ape: Gorillas live in the African tropical forest.
guerrilla guerrilla is a member of irregular military that uses surprise attacks on its enemy: Guerrilla warfare uses tactics such as espionage, sabotage, and ambush.
• H •
hail Hail means “to greet or to come from”: She hails from California. Hail also means “balls of ice”: Hail damaged the crops.
hale Hale means “sound or healthy”: Minnie Miles is hale and hearty enough to run five miles daily.
hanged Hanged is past tense of hang in the sense of executing someone by using a rope around the neck: Outlaws in the Old West were hanged when they could be caught.
hung Hung is the past tense of hang, but is used for things: Lyda Cain’s son never hung up his clothes. Just remember hanged is used for people (Yuck!), and hung is used for other things.
hardly This is a word used in a negative sense meaning “barely”: Lyle could hardly keep his eyes open at the lecture by Rhoda Book.
herd herd is a group of animals: Nonnie saw a herd of cows in the pasture.
heard Heard is the past tense of hear: Zelda heard the bells ringing for the glorious leader who had recently died.
here Here refers to the place where you are: You should come here more often.
hear Hear is to listen with the ears: Am I speaking loud enough for you to hear me?
heroin Heroin is an illicit drug: Heroin is a very addicting substance.
heroine A heroine is a female hero in real life or in a story: Marge was treated like a heroine when she delivered the baby in a cab.
historic Historic refers to something in history that was important: The summit was a historic meeting between the countries.
historical Historical refers to anything in general history: The whole class had to dress in historical costumes for the play.
hoard Hoard means “to collect and keep for oneself”: Squirrels hoard acorns during the winter.
horde horde is a large group: Hordes of people go Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving.
hole hole is a gap or space: A moth made a hole in my sweater.
whole Whole means “complete”: Stu Beef ate the whole pizza himself!
home Home in is the correct phrase here is when referring to getting closer to a goal or target: The missile homed in electronically on the target.
hone Hone means “to sharpen”: Denise made a resolution to hone her piano playing skills.
• I •
i. e. See e. g., i. e.
e. g.
illicit See elicit, illicit.
illusion See allusion, illusion.
immemorial Immemorial refers to that which is beyond time, ancient: These artifacts have been here since time immemorial.
immortal Immortal describes things that live forever: The way Randolph drives, he must think that he is immortal.
immoral Immoral means “not nice, unethical, bad”: Stealing is immoral.
immoral See amoral, immoral.
immigrant See emigrant, immigrant.
immigrate See emigrate, immigrate.
imminent See eminent.
eminent, emanant
implicate, imply Implicate means “to closely link or connect”: The blood on his hands implicated him in the murder.
Imply means “to point to, or suggest indirectly”: The victim’s friend implied he thought he knew who the murderer was.
implicit See explicit, implicit.
imply Imply means “to suggest indirectly”: Her hesitation implied that her answer was no.
infer Infer means “to draw a conclusion from known facts”: He inferred that the answer was no from her hesitation.
in regard to Both of these mean “referring to”, but use one or the other: In regard to your proposal I have an idea, or: As regards your proposal, I have an idea. NOT in regards to!
as regards
inchoate Inchoate describes something in an early stage of development, and that is incomplete: Lucy’s plan remained inchoate and was developed no further.
incoherent Incoherent describes something that is lacking connection or order: Some even thought that Lucy’s plan was just a few incoherent thoughts that didn’t hang together.
incredible Incredible means “astonishing or difficult to grasp”: The incredible power of a tornado attracts storm chasers.
incredulous Incredulous means “skeptical and disbelieving”: She was incredulous about Fred’s interpretation of the event.
induction See deduction, induction.
innervate See enervate, innervate.
insure See assure, ensure, insure.
intolerable Intolerable refers to something unbearable: The heat during the summer of 2005 was intolerable.
intolerant Intolerant refers to a person who is unable to accept differences in opinion, habit, or belief: Maybelle is intolerant of anyone who chews with their mouth open.
irregardless Regardless is the correct word to use, meaning “without regard”: The young man left regardless of the warnings.
regardless Irregardless is a double negative that should be avoided.
its Its is the possessive form of it, like hers, his, and theirs: The dog licked its foot after stepping in maple syrup.
it’s It’s is short for ‘it is’, a contraction of those two words: “Well, I guess it’s [it is] time to wash the dog again.”
• J •
jibe See gibe, gybe, jibe.
• K •
kind of Avoid these expressions in the sense of “somewhat”, “rather” or “a little” (especially avoid reducing them to kinda and sorta). The pace of the baseball game was rather [not kind of] slow.
sort of
knew Knew is the past tense of know: She knew what she wanted to say but couldn’t say it.
new New means “never used”: I ordered a new custom car from the factory today.
• L •
latent Latent means “present but not visible or active”: Just because I’m not in bed doesn’t mean that I don’t have a latent virus.
patent Patent means “visible, active, or obvious”: The claim that I pinched Marilyn’s tush is a patent lie!
later Later means “afterward”: Come later than seven o’clock.
latter Latter means “the last of two things mentioned”: If I have to choose between brains or beauty, I’ll take the latter.
lay Lay is a transitive verb, which means it takes an object. It means “to set or put down flat”: Gwendolyn laid child in the crib, or Lay a book on the table, please. Its forms are lay, lays, laid, has laid, and is laying.
lie Lie is an intransitive verb, so it does not take an object. It means “to rest supine or remain in a certain place”: I have to lie down because I’m not feeling well, or I like to lie in the grass for hours. Its forms are lie, lies, lay, has lain, and is lying.
lead Lead can be a verb meaning “to guide, be in charge of”: Greg will lead a group this afternoon. It can also be a noun meaning “a type of metallic element”: Use a lead pencil to fill in your answer sheet.
led Led is the past tense of lead: Greg led the group this afternoon.
lend Lend is a verb that mean “to temporarily give something to someone”: Lucy will lend or loan Chuck her books any day.
loan loan is a noun meaning something borrowed: Most people get a bank loan to buy a house. Loan is also used in American English as a verb meaning “to lend”.
borrow Borrow is to receive something from someone temporarily: Can I borrow the book if I promise to return it tomorrow?
less See few, less.
lessen Lessen means “to decrease or make less”: She lessened the headache pain with aspirin.
lesson lesson is something you learn: A teacher might say, “Today’s lesson is about ancient Egypt.”
liable Liable means “legally responsible for or subject to”: Tom is liable to pay for the damage if he doesn’t prove his innocence.
libel Libel is a noun that means “a slanderous statement that damages another person’s reputation”: Bertrand was sued for libel for what he printed about Phil Anders.
lightening Lightening is a verb that means “to reduce the weight of”: My course load needs lightening if I am to complete this course successfully.
lightning Lightning refers to the electrical discharge in the sky: Fred captured the image of a bolt of lightning on film.
like See as, like.
literally See figuratively, literally.
lithe See blithe, lithe.
loathe Loathe is a verb meaning “to detest or dislike greatly”: Janice loathes animal cruelty.
loath Loath is an adjective meaning “reluctant, unwilling”: Lance was loath to ask for an extension on his term paper that semester.
loose Loose is not tight: A loose-fitting jacket was more suitable than a shawl.
lose Lose is to misplace and not be able to find: I often lose my bearings when entering a new city. Thank goodness I don’t lose my keys though!
• M •
manner Manner is a way of doing or behaving: Duane Pipes installed the plumbing in a workman-like manner.
manor manor is a house on an estate: The chauffeur drove slowly up to the manor.
mantel mantel is the shelf above a fireplace, or face of one: Matilda set several candles on the mantel.
mantle mantle is a cloak or blanket: Velma grabbed her mantle before heading out the door.
marital Marital refers to marriage: Bunny and Lance are having marital problems.
martial Martial refers to war or warriors: Bunny has a black belt in martial arts.
marshal marshal is an officer of highest ranking; it can mean “to arrange”: The marshal gave orders to the troops.
marshall Marshall is a verb meaning “to together”: Marshall marshaled enough strength to walk past the bar on his way home.
may be May be as two words means “might be”: Your reading glasses may be on the night stand.
maybe Maybe is one word that means “perhaps”: Maybe your reading glasses are on the night stand.
me Me is used as a simple object: Susan told my brother and me about her trip to Africa.
myself Myself is a reflexive and an emphatic pronoun: I talk to myself [reflexive] or you can do that yourself [emphatic].
meet Meet means “to get together or connect with someone, to encounter”: Elroy plans to meet a colleague for lunch.
mete Mete means “to distribute”: We had to mete out the last of the water when we were still 20 miles from civilization on our hiking trip.
meat Meat is flesh that may be eaten: Nathan is a vegetarian who doesn’t eat meat at all.
militate Militate means “to influence toward or against a change”: The banality of Rhoda Book’s stories militated against their becoming popular.
mitigate Mitigate means “to lessen, make easier, or bearable”: A cold compress on your leg will mitigate the swelling.
mordant Mordant is bitingly sarcastic: Everyone hated Raymond’s mordant comments.
trenchant Trenchant means “forceful and keen”: Raymond received trenchant criticism from everyone for his comments.
most See almost, most.
mute Mute means “having no sound or without speech”: He was struck mute by the horror of the events.
moot Moot as a noun is a public meeting; as an adjective, the more common usage, means “open to debate” in the UK and “not open to debate” in the US. It is most often used in the phrase moot point: When Walter walked in, the question of who was going to pick him up became moot.
• N •
no No means “the opposite of yes”: They all said no in response to the latest referendum.
know To know is to understand are realize: I don’t want to know how you got up the tree.
noisome Noisome means “disgusting, offensive, and potentially harmful”: A noisome smell arose from the garbage can.
noisy Noisy means “making a lot of sound or racket”: With so many children, it became a noisy day care center.
nonplussed Nonplussed is often misused in the sense of “calm and unbothered”. The actual meaning is “confused or bewildered”: She was nonplussed by her husband’s unusual behavior.
nowhere See anyway, anywhere, nowhere; anyways, anywheres, nowheres.
• O •
obeisance Obeisance is respect and homage paid someone: Farina greeted the queen with sincere obeisance.
obsequious Obsequiousness is submissiveness and an eagerness to obey: The obsequiousness of the waiter made them roll their eyes.
obtuse Obtuse means “lacking quickness of wit or sensitivity, dull, dense”: Brandon is so obtuse he doesn’t even know when he is being insulted.
abstruse Abstruse means “too difficult to understand for the average mind”: The professor presented an abstruse metaphysical concept that went over our heads.
one another See each other, one another.
each other
overdo Overdo is to exaggerate something: Marcy overdoes her makeup every morning and she ends up looking like a clown.
overdue Overdue indicates something that has missed its deadline: You must return these overdue books to the library immediately, or A visit to our grandparents is long overdue.
• P •
pamper To pamper is to coddle, or treat with indulgence: The only time my mom pampers me is when I’m sick.
pander To pander is to cater to the base needs of others, to sell out: Senator Throckmorton got elected by pandering to special interest groups.
passed Passed is the past tense of pass, to go by or move ahead of: The boys passed through town quickly.
past Past is a place in time that was before now: You would be wise to reflect on the past and learn from it.
pasture pasture is a place where farm animals graze: Al Falfa puts his cows out into the pasture every morning.
pastor pastor is a member of the clergy, a minister of a church: Noah Sarque is the pastor of the local Baptist Church.
patent See latent, patent.
patience Patience is the ability to remain calm even when dealing with someone or something difficult: The teacher showed infinite patience for the students struggling with the reading material. (See also assistance and assistants.)
patients Patients are people who are sick in a hospital: The nurse had several new patients to get to know that week.
peace Peace is a sense of calm and absence of war or hostility: We all hope for peace throughout the world.
piece piece is a part or segment of something: Helen Highwater lost a piece of her jewelry in church last Sunday.
peek To peek is to look quickly without someone knowing: The child peeked inside the gift.
pique To pique is to arouse or provoke: Muriel’s comment piqued Abner’s curiosity. Pique can also be used as a noun meaning “resentment”: Sedgewick felt a bit of pique at the association of his name with their real estate scheme.
peak peak is the highest point of something: Chastity decided not to drive to the top of Pike’s Peak during the peak summer vacation season.
peer To peer is to squint and gaze strongly at: Melvin had to peer through fog to keep the car on the highway.
pier peer is an equal: Farnsworth didn’t consider anyone his peer when it came to the game of tiddledy winks.
pier is a walkway that juts into a body of water for docking: to he docked his boat at the end of the pier.
penultimate Penultimate means “the next to the last (the ultimate)”: Little did Al Pacca know that the penultimate shrimp he ate was the one that gave him food poisoning.
ultimate Ultimate is the last or best: I found the ultimate gift for Gary this year.
perspective perspective is a view from a certain place or position or a mental outlook: The perspective from this building is spectacular, or Lydia Potts has a wonderful perspective on life considering the fact that she has 12 kids.
prospective Prospective is an adjective that means “possible, likely to happen”: We have several prospective opportunities before us.
persuade See convince, persuade.
phase See faze, phase.
piquant Piquant means “pleasantly tart or spicy”: This restaurant serves a piquant salsa that is absolutely delicious.
pique To pique is to arouse or provoke: Grunella piqued Vern’s curiosity with her question. (See also peek.)
plain Plain means “simple not showy” or “a large level region”: It was plain to see that Vanessa loved Conway, or Bowser’s farm was on a great plain where wheat grew well.
plane plane is a flat and level surface, a new level, or an airplane: To understand the equation of a plane surface in mathematics you have to reach a new plane of consciousness. Franklin landed the plane successfully.
portent portent is a noun meaning “an omen or prophetic sign of the future”: Ivan Oder took falling out of bed that morning as a portent of a greater disaster in the future.
potent Potent is an adjective meaning “strong and powerful”: Arnold was a potent man, even at seventy, but could not handle the potent martinis Bella Donna made.
pour To pour is to dispense liquid from one container into another: She poured some milk into the glass.
pore pore is to study or read intensely: Hilda pored over the materials nightly.
pore Pore also means “a small opening in skin through which moisture or air moves”: Pores are all over our bodies.
practical Practical refers to being easily used and put into practice: A Swiss Army knife has many practical uses.
practicable Practicable means “feasible or possible”: It is not always practicable for a busy person to use this tool.
precede The verb precede means “to come or go before, in front of”: The flower girl preceded the bride in the procession down the aisle.
proceed Proceed means “to move forward”: Both the flower girl and the bride proceeded down the aisle at the same time.
premise premise usually means “assumption”: Since the basic premise was wrong, all the conclusions based on it were wrong, too.
premises Premises are a house or building and the grounds around it: Smoking is not allowed on the premises.
presence Presence means “the state of being near”: April’s presence was comforting in Rod’s time of sorrow.
presents Presents are gifts: The greatest gift is to let someone give you a present.
principal principal is the head of a professional business or school: The principal of the middle school is a woman of principles.
principle principle is a belief: I avoid school principals as a matter of principle.
profit Profit is the money earned above the expense it took to complete the project: Ghislaine and Pierre made a $100,000 profit when they remodeled and sold their house.
prophet prophet is a person who can foretell the future and through which a divine presence speaks: Atheism is a non-prophet religion.
profligate Profligate is to be wasteful and extravagant: Esmeralda is so profligate that she spent the entire million dollars she won in the lottery in one year.
prolific Prolific means “abundant, fruitful, producing much”: John Grisham is a prolific writer.
• Q •
quiet Quiet means “without sound or mention of”: You are supposed to be quiet in hospitals and libraries.
quite Quite can mean either “completely or somewhat, rather”, depending on what you mean: I was quite alone that Saturday afternoon (completely) but the hours passed quite quickly (rather).
quote Quote is a verb meaning “to state the exact words someone else said”: The pastor quoted scripture from the Bible or Carmen quoted a famous psychologist in complaining to the boss.
quotation quotation is the actual statement being quoted: Gretchen read a quotation every day.
• R •
rain Rain is the water that falls from the sky: Dingwell didn’t have sense enough to come in out of the rain.
reign Reign is the rule of a king of queen: King Wilhelm reigned with an iron fist to keep peace in the land.
rein rein (usually plural, reins) are the straps of leather used to control and guide a horse: No matter how hard Reginald pulled on the reins, the horse would not slow down.
raise Raise means “to build or grow”: The farmer raises corn. The Amish will raise the walls of a building by noon.
raze Raze is to destroy: The school was razed and a new one built in its place.
real Real is a variant of really used in dialectal areas (like the Southern US) where adverbs are not distinguished from adjectives: She sings real good, in standard English is: She sings really well.
really Really is an intensifying adverb: Gwendolyn was really tired after playing outside all day.
reality Reality means “the perceived world as it is, the true situation”: She could not tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
realty Realty is land or real estate: Realty in large cities is markedly expensive.
rebate rebate is a discount from the manufacturer to the customer after a purchase has been made: The $600 computer cost only $69.43 after all the rebates.
refund refund is a full repayment to a dissatisfied customer: Mildred returned her girdle and demanded a full refund.
regimen Regimen is a systematic plan: Sylvia is undergoing a regimen for a healthier lifestyle.
regiment Regiment is a troop of soldiers: The army is made up of several regiments.
residence residence is where people live, the house or building: The mayor’s residence is located in the center of the city.
residents The residents are the people who live there: The residents of the community thinks the mayor’s residence is to luxurious.
respectable Respectable means “deserving respect or on good behavior”: Mother always told us to be respectable in public.
respectful Respectful refers to showing respect: Be respectful of the people around you, especially if they have sticks.
respective Respective means “individual and appropriate”: The summer camp kids were shown to their respective cabins.
respectfully Respectfully means “politely and with respect”: Mel Pew always dealt respectfully with each and every customer.
respectively Respectively refers to the order in which things are given: I gave Wallace and Linda blue and green socks, respectively, means that I gave Wallace blue socks and Linda green ones.
restive Restive means “impatient and nervous, restless”: Cory became restive once he knew the boss was going to call him into his office.
restful Restful means “full of rest, calm, quiet, and restorative”: A restful vacation in Indonesia was just what the doctored ordered.
retch To retch is to try and vomit: Furman retched several times after swallowing a bite of Lurleen’s liver pudding.
wretch wretch is a miserable or wicked person: I didn’t believe she could be such a wretch.
rifle Rifle means to search with the intention of stealing or taking: The mugger rifled Clarissa’s purse looking for cash.
riffle To riffle means “to shuffle or flip quickly through papers”: Bill riffled the card deck before dealing.
right Right means “correct”: She always knew the right thing to say.
rite rite is a ceremony: Final rites for the deceased were held in the church.
write To write is to express oneself in writing: Rhoda Book writes everyone about her publishing career.
rise Rise is intransitive and does not have an object: The sun rises in the east.
raise Raise always has an object: You can raise a crop on a farm or raise your hand in class.
road Road is a long path or street to travel on: Lucille tries to stay on a main road wherever she travels.
rode Rode is past tense of ride: Matilda rode her bicycle over a cliff by accident.
role role is a part in a play or movie: Marjorie’s favorite role of her entire movie career was that of the quirky neighbor inKeep your Doors Locked. It can also mean “a function of”: Marjorie’s role in removing the insignia from the police car door was minor.
roll Roll is a verb meaning “to turn over and over”: Diane rolled the flat tire into the garage.
• S •
sale sale is a noun meaning “the selling of something”: Every car sale means a commission for the salesman.
sail sail is the material used to catch wind on a boat: The sail billowed in the wind as Jacob’s boat slid across the water.
sale sale is a noun meaning “the selling of something”: Every car sale means a commission for the salesman.
sell To sell, the verb, is to offer goods for consumption at a cost: Seth sells his pottery at art fairs.
sanguine Sanguine means “red, ruddy or optimistic”: I am not sanguine about your getting this job.
saturnine Saturnine means “being moody, sullen, or melancholy”: Ima Aiken falls into a saturnine mood every time her husband Hadley goes away on business.
scene Scene is a place or view: The scene of the crime was just outside his window.
seen Seen is past tense of see: I have seen that movie three times already.
seam seam is where two pieces are joined: The seam of Leticia’s dress ripped when she bent over.
seem To seem is to appear or look as if: Leticia seemed unhappy when that happened.
semimonthly See bimonthly, semimonthly.
sensor See censor, sensor, censure.
sensual Sensual refers to physical, especially sexual, pleasure: Derry Yare wears sensual dresses to attract men.
sensuous Sensuous refers to anything artistic that appeals to the senses or appetites: Marguerita had prepared a sensual feast for her guests.
serf serf is a slave or servant: Neil Downe came from a family of serfs but rose to become a landlord.
surf To surf is to ride the waves of water, or to search on the Internet: The surf is up down at the beach; ou can surf the Internet some other time.
set Set is a transitive verb meaning “to put or place something solid somewhere”: Marvin set his new lamp on the table.
sit Sit means “to rest upright with the weight on the buttocks or to move into such a position”; the past tense is sat: Percy sat down beside Geneva on the park bench.
seat Seat can be a verb meaning “to show someone their seat or where to sit”: The waiter seated Murgatroyd at his usual table by the door.
sever Sever means “to cut through completely”: One blow from Jessie’s hatchet severed the rope.
severe Severe means “strict, hard, extreme”: Severe winter weather came early this year. There was a severe tone in Marilyn’s voice when she berated Todd for putting the tack in her chair.
shear Shear means “to cut off”: We shear sheep’s wool in the spring and we shear the hedges in the summer.
sheer Sheer means “pure, unadulterated”: Felicity found the amusement park a sheer pleasure. Sheer also means “transparent”: Perry Winkle hung sheer curtains in the living room.
shore shore is a beach: to spend a vacation on the shore. It also means “to brace or support”: They shored up the leaning wall with steel beams.
sure Sure means “without doubt”: Maria was sure about the decision to move to another country.
singly Singly means “one by one”: The fire drill required everyone to leave the building quietly and singly.
singularly Singularly means “extraordinarily, in an outstanding manner”: He singularly fought the rebels off one by one.
site See cite, site, sight.
sleight-of-hand Sleight of hand refers to dexterity and trickery with the hands: The magician’s sleight of hand fooled the audience.
slight-of-hand This phrase is often confused with slight of hand, an adjective phrase meaning “having small slender hands”.
sole Sole means “single”: The sole remaining person in the room left, leaving it empty. It also means the bottom of a foot or shoe: Gigi needed new soles on her shoes.
soul soul refers to the spirit of a living creature: Do you believe animals have souls?
some time Some time refers to a considerable period of time: I need some time to think about it.
sometime Sometime refers to an indistinct or unstated time in the future: I’ll see you around sometime.
sometimes Sometimes is an adverb meaning continually, off and on, occasionally: Karen sometimes drinks coffee instead of tea.
stationary Stationary means “still and unmoving”: The cat was stationary until it was time to pounce on its prey.
stationery Stationery refers to writing materials such as paper: Craig took out his best stationery to write to his beloved Charlotte Russe.
statue statue is a carved or shaped imitation of an object: There is a statue of a large bird is in her garden.
statute statute is law: The government publishes new statutes each year.
stature Stature means “status, standing”: Chester Drors is a man of substantial stature in state politics.
storey Storey is the British spelling of story when this word refers to a floor of a building: The upper storeys of the building comprised apartments. The US spelling of this sense of the word is also story.
story story is a tale related in speech or writing by someone. In the US, it is also the spelling used to refer to the floor of a building: My home is three stories high.
straight Straight is an adjective that means having “no bends or curve”s: Pimsley’s walking cane is as straight as an arrow.
strait strait is a narrow channel connecting two bodies of water: The Bering Strait lies between Alaska and Siberia.
supposedly Supposedly means “reputedly” or “likely to be true”: Sam is supposedly the greatest waterboy in the football team’s history.
supposably Supposably means “can be supposed”: The best solution to the problem is supposably to ignore it. (However, this word is seldom used.)
• T •
taut Taut is a literary word that means “tight”: Hold the string taut while I mark the line.
taught Taught is the past tense of teach: Kenneth taught etiquette and good manners for several years.
tenant tenant is someone who rents property: A new tenant moved into the vacant apartment last week.
tenet tenet is a principle: The major tenets of all religions are similar.
than Than is used to compare: Philippa Byrd thinks she is smarter than any of us.
then Then is a word to describe a time that is not now: I prefer Friday; it would be better to meet then because then I will be ready.
their Their is possessive of they: The twins left their books at home.
there There refers to a place that is not here: We will be there in two hours.
they’re They’re is a contraction for they are: They’re going to a concert tonight.
theirself Only themselves is correct as a reflexive or emphatic pronoun: They gave themselves all the credit for the rescue.
threw Although these two words are pronounced the same, threw is the past tense of the verb throw, meaning “tossed, hurled in the air”: Morty threw the keys to the car to McKinley.
through Through is a preposition meaning “entering the inside of something and coming out the other side”: Chuck accidentaly threw a rock through Miss Conception’s living room window.
throes Throes are severe pains or difficult times: Wade Rivers found it difficult to listen to his iPod in the throes of battle.
throws Throws is the plural or present tense of throw: Several throws later, Bud Light managed to put a wad of paper in the trash can from his desk.
til Til is a contraction of the preposition until: I won’t see you til tomorrow. Only one L.
till Till is a verb meaning “to cultivate”: My Uncle Emmet tills about half the land on his farm and herds cattle on the rest.
to To is a preposition meaning “toward”: We go to the lake every summer. It also serves as the infinitive particle for verbs: I want to stop confusing words.
too Too means “also”: I’d love to go with you, too.
two Two is the number between one and three: We have two options: hire a divorce lawyer or a mortician.
torpid Torpid means “unresponsive, lacking alertness”: Prunella tried to elicit answers from the torpid students in front of her.
turgid Turgid means “very ornate and decorative”: The author’s turgid writing style lost my interest quickly. It can also mean “swollen and bulging”: Turgid veins covered her legs.
tortuous Tortuous means “winding, crooked, with many twists and turns”: Wiley Driver was very adept at driving the tortuous mountain roads of western North Carolina.
torturous Torturous means “very painful, like torture”: Mick Stupp found doing math homework torturous.
• U •
undoubtedly These three words may be used interchangeably, meaning “sure, without a doubt”: Mildred was undoubtedly| undoubtably|indubitably the best ballet dancer of all time.
uninterested See disinterested, uninterested.
• V •
vane vane is blade that rotates: I don’t know how hard the wind blew; it blew the weather vane off the roof.
vain Vain means “fruitless, hopeless, or without result”: Bertie harbors a vain hope of becoming a world-class ice skater.
vein Vein refers to the tubes that carry blood back to the heart: The veins are usually smaller than the arteries.
venal Venal means “corruptible, money-grubbing, likely to accept bribes”: Chris Cross is a man so venal he charged his mother for taking her to the hospital.
venial Venial means “easily forgiven”: The judge dismissed the venial crimes and focused on the theft of the chocolates.
verses Verses is plural of verse, a line of poetry: several Emerson’s verses were recited that evening.
versus Versus means “in comparison or opposition to”: The benefits of having a cell phone versus not having one depend on the individual.
vicious Vicious means “cruel and mean”: A vicious dog attacked the young boy.
viscous Viscous means “thick and sticky”: Honey and tar are viscous substances.
• WXYZ •
waist Waist refers the (often) narrow area of a human body between the hips and ribs: We often wear a belt around our waist.
waste Waste is garbage, or waste can be a verb meaning “to use carelessly”: You shouldn’t waste food and you should recycle waste paper.
wary Wary means “leery and cautious”: The customer became wary when the salesperson said he would personally guarantee the TV set for 100 years.
weary Weary means “tired and worn”: After a day of harvesting corn, the farmer was very weary.
wave To wave is to move back and forth; a wave is a swelling in a body of water due to movement: Helen Highwater waved her hand to the boat rocking in the waves.
waive Waive means “to give up, not require or ask for”: Never waive your right to a lawyer.
weak Weak is not strong: Finley gave a weak performance; maybe because he has a weak mind.
week Week refers to the names of the seven days, from Sunday to Saturday: I go to the ice skating rink once a week.
wear Wear is a verb (wear, wore, worn) meaning to have clothing on: Maud Lynn Dresser always wears gaudy evening gowns on formal occasions.
ware Ware is an article of merchandise, a product (usually used in the plural): The potter displayed her wares on a beautiful stand made by her husband.
were Were is past tense of are: Maud and her fiance were at the ball last weekend.
we’re We’re is a contraction for we are: We’re going to the ball this weekend so maybe we’ll see them.
weather Weather has to do with climate: I hope we have beautiful weather for my daughter’s wedding.
whether Whether means “if” and is used only inside sentences: I don’t know whether to bring an umbrella or not.
wet Wet is full of moisture: We had to dry out the wet sleeping bag on our camping trip after a sudden storm.
whet Whet is to stimulate or arouse: Smelling the stew whetted her appetite.
which Which means “what particular choice”: Which witch put the spell on you?
witch witch is a person who believes in or practices magic: Not all witches have warts on their noses (some have them on their chins).
who’s Who’s is a contraction for who is: Who’s going to vote today?
whose Whose is the possessive of who meaning “of whom”: Whose tickets are these?
wont Wont means “used to”: Maggie was wont to getting everything her way and cried when she didn’t.
won’t Won’t is a contraction for will not: Maggie won’t be getting every toy she wants this Christmas.
your Your is possessive for you: Your idea is fantastic!
you’re You’re is a contraction for you are: You’re the most treasured person in my life.
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1 Response to Complete List of Mostly Confused Words, Confused Words List

  1. Noor fatuima says:

    It is a good list of words

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