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English Vocabulary for ESL learners 

Confusing Words in English, page 4

Words that are often confused or misused in English.

page 4:   from:   'hard/hardly'   to:   'lose/loose'

  • hard/hardly
    • Hard can be an adjective or an adverb. It means 'tough', 'difficult' or 'with difficulty/effort'.
      "The cheese is very hard."
      “Her explanation was hard to understand.”
      “He is working hard for his exams.”

      Hardly is an adverb meaning 'scarcely', 'barely', 'only just'
      “There is hardly any milk left.”
      “Don't worry. The stain is hardly noticeable.”

  • hear/here 
    • Hear: If you 'hear' something, your ears detect the sound of it.
      "Call me if you hear the baby crying."

      Here: If something is 'here' it is near you when you speak.
      "Come and sit here beside me."

  • hoard/horde 
    • To hoard means to collect or accumulate.
      "Some animals hoard food for the winter."

      A horde means a large group of people .
      "Hordes of people turned up to see the event."

  • imply/infer 
    • 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."

  • later/latter
    • Later means 'at some time after the present moment'
      "The children are already here; my husband will arive later."

      The latter is the second of two items, people or things previously mentioned.
      “Beef or chicken? The latter is cheaper.”

  • lessen/lesson 
    • To lessen means to decrease, diminish or reduce.
      "The new measures are intended to lessen the risk of fires."

      A lesson is something that is taught or that you learn.
      "Max is taking driving lessons. "

  • loathe/loath 
    • To loathe means to detest or dislike intensely.
      "She loathes spiders ...in fact, insects of all sorts!"

      Loath is an adjective meaning reluctant or unwilling
      "He was loath to admit that he had failed the exam."

  • lose/loose 
    • Lose is a verb. If you lose something you no longer have it.
      "Put the address 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."

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

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