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English Vocabulary for ESL learners 

Confusing Words in English, page 3

Words that are often confused or misused in English.

page 3:   from:   'decent/descent'   to:   'forward/foreward'

  • decent/descent
    • Decent means 'suitable, appropriate, socially acceptable'.
      "Make sure you wear decent clothes at the interview."

      A descent is a downward movement
      "The plane began its descent towards the airport.”

  • desert/dessert  
    • A desert is a stretch of barren sandy land where there is very little rain.
      "The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world."

      A dessert is a sweet course served at the end of a meal.
      "You'll have no dessert if you don't finish your vegetables."

  • disinterested/uninterested
    • Disinterested means impartial, unbiased, not influenced by personal interest.
      "My advice to you is totally disinterested."

      Uninterested means not interested in something or not care about it.
      "The old man is uninterested in the results of the elections."

  • draft/draught 
    • A draft refers to the preparatory version of a document. 
      "The draft was altered several times."

      A draught means a current of cool air.
      "Please close the door. I feel a draught."

  • elicit/illicit 
    • To elicit means "to draw out a response". 
      "The journalist tried to elicit information from the witnesses"

      Illicit means illegal or unlawful.
      "He was arrested for selling illicit copies of the book."

  • eminent/imminent 
    • 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/specially 
    • 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."

  • everyday/every day
    • Everyday describes ordinary normal things or occurences.
      "I don’t wear my everyday clothes on special occasions."

      Every day means every single day.
      "Jack takes the bus to work every day. "

  • expand/expend
    • Expand means to increase in size, number, volume, importance etc.
      “Reading will expand your vocabulary.”

      Expend means to use or spend effort, time,money, etc.
      “Some nations expend great resources on war.”

  • farther/further 
    • 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.)

  • forward/foreword
    • Forward means onward, ahead of you or towards the future.
      "As soon as the door opened the car moved forward "

      Foreword means an introduction to a book written by someone other than the author.
      "The foreword to his latest book was written by a famous scientist.."

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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