confusing words

25 Most Common Confusing Words in English

We face trouble understanding a few words, as they confuse us with meaning. Then Vs. Than & Gray vs. Grey has always been giving me trouble until I learned their meanings and sorted out myself where then is suitable and where than is suitable. So understanding these words is necessary as the English language has many identical words.

Try out Punctuation checker with a sample sentence and see for yourself!

1.    Affect / Effect:

Both of them sound same and have identical spellings. Though they are different in meaning.

Affect, is a verb. It means to have an impact on something.
Effect, is a noun. It means the result of being affected by something.

          Correct Examples:

  • Let’s wait for the meds to have an effect.
  • These refugees were affected by the flooding.

Incorrect Examples:

  • Let’s wait for the meds to have an affect.
  • These refugees were affected by the flooding.

2.    A lot / A lot:

Alot is never a word, it never has been. A lot is the word that you should be practicing writing.

    Correct Examples:

  • I have a lot of things to spend on.
  • You have a lot of thoughts going on in your mind.

Incorrect Examples:

  • I have alot of things to spend on.
  • You have alot of thoughts going on in your mind.

3.    Between / Among:

Between, refers to a thing that is two or more.
Among, is used for things that are considered as part of a group altogether.

   Correct Example:

  • I have to choose between a blue Lamborghini or a red Ferrari.
  • Choose among your watches, to wear for the party.
  • I love walking among the people.
  • I liked to walk between the two streets.

Incorrect Examples:

  • I have to choose among a blue Lamborghini or a red Ferrari.
  • Choose between your watches, to wear for the party.
  • I love walking between the people.
  • I liked to walk among the two streets.

4.    Compliment / Complement:

Both the words sound the same, and have spelling closely identical. But they have different meanings.
Compliment, is referring to a praise or an expression said or written in praise.
Complement, means something that will complete a particular thing.

  Correct Example:

  • He complimented her for her work of art.
  • Dessert will complement the meal.

Incorrect Example:

  • He complemented her for her work of art.
  • Dessert will compliment the meal.

5.    Each / Every:

Use them both together, to demonstrate emphasis. Only in that case, not the otherwise.

          Correct Example:

  • Each individual is especial in their own way.
  • Everybody is especial in their own way.

Incorrect Example:

  • Each and every individual is especial in their own way.

6.    Especially / Specially:

Both these words are identical to one another.
Special, is an adjective (common) and specially is adverb. It means something designed for a specific purpose.
Especial, is also an adjective (non-common). Especially refers to something that is exceptional and particular.

         Correct Examples:

  • This function is specially arranged for the Bride.
  • You have done especially well in the cricket tournament.

Incorrect Examples:

  • This function is especially arranged for the Bride.
  • You have done specially well in the cricket tournament.

7.    Except / Accept:

Both sound identical but have meanings different.
Except, means to exclude something or exclusion of something.
Accept, means to receive anything or something.
The innocent mistake people commit with the two words is putting except, where accept is deemed to be put.

Correct Examples:

  • I have to accept this as my fate.
  • We all are going to picnic except Rizwan.
  • We accepted you in our home.
  • Except you, all are invited

Incorrect Examples:

  • I have to except this as my fate.
  • We all are going to picnic accept Rizwan.
  • We excepted you in our home.
  • Accept you, all are invited.

8.    Faith / Fate:

Another confusion that often arises is between faith and fate.
Faith, means the belief in something.
Fate, is the destiny.

           Correct Examples:

  • I have my faith in you.
  • He thinks all bad that happens to him is in his fate.
  • This is my fate, to bear the pain.
  • I have put my faith in the God.

Incorrect Examples:

  • I have my fate in you.
  • He thinks all bad that happens to him is in his faith.
  • This is my faith, to bear the pain.
  • I have put my fate in the God.

9.    Farther / Further:

Farther & further are another case with identically spelled words but pronounced differently.
Farther, is used for referring to something at a physical distance.
Further, means to refer to something that is at a nonphysical distance.

           Correct Examples:

  • Karachi is farther away than Hyderabad.
  • Our team has fallen further away from the goals.

Incorrect Examples:

  • Karachi is further away than Hyderabad.
  • Our team has fallen farther away from the goals.

10.  Fewer / Less:

Fewer, is to regard with something that you can count.
Less, is to refer something that is uncountable.

            Correct Example:

  • We have two fewer pencils, than yesterday.
  • You love me less than you did before.

Incorrect Examples:

  • We have two less pencils, than yesterday.
  • You love me fewer than you did before.

11.  Into / In to:

This is a mistake committed by many, and more than often.
Into, is used to suggest movement.
In to,
whereas the in and to are two individual words.

            Correct Examples:

  • He walked into the office.
  • Call in to a meeting.

Incorrect Examples:

  • He walked in to the office.
  • Call into a meeting.

12. Its / It’s:

Its, is signifying the possession. Something belonging to someone.
It’s, is short for it is.

Correct Examples:

  • It’s raining outside.
  • Phone looks great in its new cover.

            Incorrect Examples:

  • Its raining outside.
  • Phone looks great in it’s new cover.

13.  Lose / Loose:

People often commit the mistake with the lose and loose. As they fail to understand the difference.
Lose, is as in losing the game. Loose, is the opposite of tight.

         Correct Examples:

  • I lose three games against you.
  • These pants are loose.

Incorrect Examples:

  • I loose three games against you.
  • These pants are lose.

14.  Me / I:

Sometimes we think we know the difference between the two words, until we have it upon us to write either one of them. That sounds confusing, same was my case concerning where to put me and I.

            Correct Examples:

  • When you are done, send the spreadsheet to boss and me.
  • Danish and I joined the gym.
  • Mom took Danish and me to the shop

Incorrect Examples:

  • When you are done, send the spreadsheet to boss and I.
  • Danish and me joined the gym.
  • Mom took Danish and I to the shop.

15.  One another / Each other:

Both of the above mentioned are used for the same purpose in the language. Though we prefer one another for the use in general statements.
Also they both are good enough to be used in the possessive forms.

            Correct Examples:

  • We don’t talk to each other anymore.
  • We don’t talk to one another anymore.
  • We spent a night listening one another’s stories.
  • We spent a night listening each other’s stories.

16. On / In:

We have often seen people commit the mistake of putting “in”, where “on” is supposed to be used in a sentence. That is all due to the confusion and not having awareness of what they mean and where they are better placed in sentence.
On, refers to something that is “on top of”.
In, refers to “inside”.

Correct Examples:

  • He is riding on a bike.
  • He rides in a car.
  • He sat in a tree.

Incorrect Examples:

  • He is riding in a bike.
  • He rides on a car.
  • He sat on a tree.

17.  Price / Prize:

Price and Prize are very identical to one another, though they have different meanings.
Price, is to pay something for buying.
Prize, is the reward of winning a competition.

           Correct Examples:

  • What is the price of this laptop?
  • He won this trophy as a prize for excellence in education.

Incorrect Examples:

  • What is the prize of this laptop?
  • He won this trophy as a price for excellence in education.

18.  Say / Tell:

Say, is used without an indirect object.
Tell, is used with an indirect object (to).

Correct Examples:

  • Tell me the problem I will solve it for you.
  • Mother said that she was feeling fine.
  • Harry told me, he wants to become a magician.

Incorrect Examples:

  • Tell to me the problem I will solve it for you.
  • Mother told that she was feeling fine.
  • Harry told me, he wants to become a magician.

19.  Shall / Will:

Shall is a word becoming less common among the masses. Only a few distinguish and strictly observe the differences of both. According to traditions, Shall is supposed to be used with the first person pronouns. Whereas, will is used with the second and third person pronouns.
Though they both are used interchangeably in American & British English.

Correct Examples:

  • I shall bring you the plants.
  • We shall go to the forest at night.
  • They will be there in time.
  • You will go to the party.
  • I will bring you the plants.
  • We will go to the forest at night.

20.  There / Their

One of the most confusing things, I have encountered is the difference between the usage of there and their.
/There, is used in a sentence to refer to the place not here.
Their, is used for the indication of possession.

Correct Examples:

  • You will find it over there.
  • We should talk to their representative.

Incorrect Example:

  • You will find it over their.
  • We should talk to there representative.

21.  Then / Than:

‘The perplexing thing is the sound of the both of them. They sound same and the spelling is very close to being identical. So it is found to be a very common and innocent mistake among the speakers and writers of English language.

Then, refers to something that will follow something else. To be specific or clear, the next step or step by step instructions.
Than,
is used in the English sentences to show comparisons.

        Correct Examples:

  • We are better at Cricket than, the opponents.
  • We will go to sea view first, then the market.

Incorrect Examples:

  • We are better at Cricket then, the opponents.
  • We will go to sea view first, than the market.

22.  Who & That:

To keep it straight-forward, you should know the difference between the “who” and the “that”.
Who, is used for the human. That, is used for the non-human.
Calling a “Who” a “that” is dehumanizing that human.

Correct Examples:

  • I want to have friends who I can trust.
  • Friends who love me.
  • The man who I’ve become.

Incorrect Examples:

  • I want to have friends that I can trust.
  • Friends that love me.
  • The man that I’ve become.

23.  Who / Whom:

Who and whom, both are the pronouns.
Who, is a subject. Whom, is an object.

         Correct Examples:

  • Who is your favorite singer?
  • Whom do you like among the singers?

Incorrect Examples:

  • Whom is your favorite singer?
  • Who do you like among the singers?

Note: when your answer is either He or She, then use a who. Whereas when it is either a Him or Her, then you use the whom.

24.  Who’s / Whose:

Since both sound the same, distinguishing their use will be necessary as beginners will face certain problems with the aforementioned two words.”
Who’s, is a contraction for who is or who has.
Whose, is a word that shows possession.

            Correct Examples:

  • Whose pencil is this?
  • Who’s not coming today?
  • Whose friend are you?
  • Who’s wrong, who’s right I don’t know.

Incorrect Examples:

  • Who’s pencil is this?
  • Whose not coming today?
  • Who’s friend are you?
  • Whose wrong, whose right I don’t know.

25.  Your / You’re

The key thing here, is to distinguish between the two.
Your, is signifying the possession. Whereas You’re, is the short for You are.

Correct Examples:

  • You’re looking good in this dress.
  • Can I have your glass to refill?

Incorrect Examples:

  • Your looking good in this dress.
  • Can I have you’re glass to refill?

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