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English Vocabulary for ESL learners 

Confusing Words in English, page 5

Words that are often confused or misused in English.

page 5:   from:   'made of/made from'   to:   'sensitive/sensible'

  • made of /made from  
    • We use made of when the material used doesn’t change.
      "The wall is made of stones." (They are still stones.)

      We use made from when the material is transformed into something else.
      Wine is made from grapes. (They are no longer grapes.)

  • maybe /may be 
    • Maybe is an adverb which means 'perhaps' or 'possibly'.
      "Maybe the book I ordered will arrive today. "

      May be: ‘May’ is a modal verb and ‘be’ is the main verb.
      'May be' means 'it could happen' or 'it might exist'.
      "Be careful driving. There may be ice on the road."

  • meeting /reunion 
    • A meeting is when people get together, or meet, usually to talk about a specific topic.
      "We will discuss the drop in sales at the meeting tomorrow."

      A reunion is an occasion for people who haven’t seen each other in a long time to see each other again (a family reunion, a school reunion, etc.).
      "A school reunion is held every year in October - an occasion to catch up with old friends."

  • migrate/emigrate/immigrate 
    • To migrate means to 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."

      To emigrate means to leave one’s country to settle permanently in a foreign country.
      "They decided to emigrate to Australia to have a better life."

      To immigrate means to come to a country to settle there permanently.
      "Ellis Island was the gateway for immigrantsto the USA."

  • moral/morale
    • Moral means the standards of behaviour considered to be correct and honest.
      “It is your moral duty to report the incident.”

      Morale refers to the mental and emotional condition of an individual.
      “The President's visit will boost the morale of the troops.”

  • peace/piece
    • Peace means absence of war or conflict  or a period of tranquillity.
      "The two countries signed a peace agreement last week."

      A piece is a part or portion of something.
      "Would you like to taste a piece of this cake?"

  • personal/personnel
    • Personal means private, intended for a particular person.
      "Please don’t open any letters marked ‘personal’"

      Personnel refers to the people employed in a company.
      "All the personnel received a Christmas bonus."

  • practice/practise
    • Practice is a noun.
      "I need more practice to become fluent."

      Practise is a verb.
      "You should practise speaking English every day."

  • precede/proceed
    • Precede means come before or ahead of something.
      "An explosion in the factory preceded the fire."

      Proceed means to continue as planned.
      "The company decided to proceed with the acquisition."

  • priceless/worthless
    • Priceless means so precious that its value cannot be determined.
      "A priceless painting was stolen from the National Art Gallery."

      Worthless means having no real value.
      "The necklace looked expensive but it was in fact worthless."

  • principal/principle 
    • 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."

  • sceptic/septic 
    • Sceptic (US: skeptic); A sceptic is a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something.
      "People say apples clean your teeth but I’m a bit of a sceptic."

      Septic: To go septicmeans to become infected with bacteria.
      "She had her ears pierced and one of them went septic."

  • sensitive/sensible 
      Sensitive refers to something physical or emotional :
      • Physical : easily irritated:
        "Eva always buys sun cream for sensitive skins."
      • Emotional : susceptible, easily upset or offended.
        "Alex is very sensitive. Be careful how you announce the news."

      Sensible means having good judgment or common sense.
      Sensible decisions or sensible clothes and shoes are practical.
      • "You must be sensible and lock your door at night."
      • "When you go on a long walk it’s better to wear sensible shoes."

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

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