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Confusing words in English.

English words that are often confused or misused.





Accept means to agree to or say yes to something.
“What forms of payment do you accept?”
Except means ‘but not’, ‘not including’.
“We accept all forms of payment except credit cards.”

Adapt means to change in order to suit different conditions.
“He brought light clothing with him to adapt to the hot climate.”
Adopt means to start to use something.
“He decided to stay and adopt the lifestyle of the natives.”

Advice is an uncountable noun meaning "a recommendation".
"My uncle gave me some good advice."
Advise is a verb meaning "to make a recommendation"..
"I would advise you to dress warmly. It's very cold today."
All ready

All ready means "all prepared".
"We are all ready to leave now."
Already refers to something that happened previously.
"When we arrived at the station the train had already left."
All together

All together means "in a group".
"The children stayed all together in the kitchen."
Altogether means "completely, utterly".
"The question left him altogether perplexed."

Altar is a noun meaning "a sacred table in a church".
"She placed the flowers in front of the altar."
Alter is a verb meaning "to change something".
"The skirt is too wide. I will have to alter it."


Assure means to speak confidently and positively to dispel any doubts.
"We can assure you that all the facts have been verified."
Ensure means to make sure that something will happen.
"Our excellent transport service will ensure fast delivery."
Insure means to guarantee indemnity in case of damage, loss or death.
"The boat and its passengers are fully insured."

Assume means "to suppose to be the case, without proof".
"I just assumed he was the owner.”
Presume means "to suppose to be the case, based on probability."
"After the avalanche, the skiers not found were presumed to be dead.”

Beside means "next to". 
"Please leave the pen beside the book."
Besides means "in addition to".
"What do eat besides pizza?"

Broach means "raise a subject".
"He promised to broach the subject at the next meeting."
Brooch refers to a piece of jewellery.
"The Queen wore a beautiful diamond brooch."

A cue is a signal, reminder or prompt e.g. for an actor.
"The door slamming was his cue to go on stage."
A queue is a line of people or vehicles.
"There was a long queue in front of the cinema."

A desert is a stretch of barren sandy land e.g. The Sahara Desert.

A dessert is a sweet course served at the end of a meal.

Discreet means to show reserve, to be unobstrusive or unnoticeable.
"Texting is more discreet than a telephone conversation."
Discrete means something separate, individual or distinct.
"The last issue is discrete from the others.”

Draft means "the preparatory version of a document". 
"The draft was altered several times."
Draught means "a current of cool air".
"Please close the door. I feel a draught."

Elicit means "to draw out a response". 
"She tried to elicit information from the witnesses."
Illicit means "illegal, unlawful".
"He was arrested for selling illicit copies of the book."

Eminent means renowned and respected in a profession.
"The operation was performed by an eminent heart surgeon."
Imminent refers to something about to happen or impending.
"The area was evacuated because of imminent flooding."

Especially means to single out one person or thing above all others.
“She likes all her teachers, especially Mrs. Brown.”
Specially means ‘for a special purpose’.
“A cake was specially made for the occasion.”

Farther refers to distance. 
"The train station is farther away than the bus stop."
Further refers to something additional.
"For further information please call 123456."
(NB: In British English both 'farther' and 'further' are used for distance.)

Hear: If you 'hear' something, your ears detect the sound of it.

Here: If something is 'here' it is near you when you speak.

Hoard means "to collect or accumulate".
"Some animals hoard food for the winter."
Horde means "a large group of people".
Hordes of people turned up to see the event."

To imply means to suggest something without saying anything explicit..
"He implied that the man was dishonest without giving any reason.”
To infer means to deduce from evidence and reasoning.
"From the facts provided we can infer that the man is dishonest.”

Loathe means "to detest or dislike intensely"
"She loathes spiders fact, insects of all sorts!"
Loath means "to be reluctant or unwilling".
"He was loath to admit that he had failed the exam."

Lose is a verb. If you lose something you no longer have it.
"Put that in your wallet so that you don't lose it."
Loose is an adjective meaning "not tightly fitted" or "unattached".
"I have a loose tooth. I need to go to see the dentist."
"There were two loose horses in the field".


Move from one area/country to another, especially in search of work.
"Many Americans migrated to the west during the gold rush."
"Several species of birds migrate in winter."
 Leave one’s country to settle permanently in a foreign country.
"They decided to emigrate to Australia to have a better life."
Come to a country to settle there permanently.
"Ellis Island was the gateway for immigrants to the USA."

A pedal is a foot-operated lever, as on a bicycle or a piano.
“One of the pedals came off her bike, so she had to walk home.”
To peddle means to sell goods in small amounts, going from place to place.
“Nowadays she’s peddling miracle lotions on the internet.”

Pore means "to study closely".
"The architect pored over the plans."
Pour means "to cause to flow".
"The waiter poured water into the glasses."

Practice is a noun.
"I need more practice to become fluent."
Practise is a verb.
"You should practise speaking English every day."

Principal means:
- the first in order of importance.
"Oil is the principal export of the country."
- the person in charge of a school or college (UK).
"Mr. Brown was appointed principal of the new school."
- The original amount of money invested or lent.
"She lived on the interest without touching the principal."
Principle means:
- A standard / a rule of action or conduct.
"We try to teach our children a set of principles."

Sight means "the ability to see".
"My grandmother needs to have her sight tested."
Site refers to a location or a place.
"The factory was built on the site of an old warehouse."
Some time


Some time means "for a while".
"He remained silent for some time."
Sometime means "at some point in the future".
"We should arrange a meeting sometime."
Sometimes means "occasionally".
"We sometimes have lunch together."  

Stationary means "not moving".
"The bus has been stationary for the last half-hour."
Stationery means "writing materials".
"Do you know where I can buy stationery?"  


There is the opposite of 'here'. It means in that place, not here.
"Where is my pen? It's there on the table."

Their is a possessive adjective just like 'my' 'your' 'his/her/its' 'our'.
"Their car is red. My car is blue."

They're is a contraction of they are.
They're beautiful = They are beautiful."


Threw is the past tense of the verb "throw".
"Jack threw the ball to Jill."
Through means "from one side of something to the other".
"You can go through the park to get to the station."
Thorough means "complete, with nothing neglected."
"The police conducted a thorough search."

To is a preposition.
"He listened to the radio."
Too means 'as well'.
"Alex went to the party too."
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