In this lesson we’ll talk about commonly confused or confusable words in English. This lesson deals with words which regularly cause problems because they are easily confused. It is fairly common to hear mistakes such as ‘I’m so boring’ (instead of ‘I’m so bored’) or ‘An eventual solution would be…’ (instead of ‘A possible solution would be…’).
The entries in this lesson are designed to help you when you are not sure which of two or more words is suitable for a particular context. There are many reasons why certain words are confusable.
Advise or Advice?
For example, they may look similar when they are written down but have very different meanings, for example advice or advise, quite and quiet, or suit and suite. Or they might look similar and have closely related, but not identical, meanings, for example altogether and all together, or breath and breathe.
Some words not only look similar, but also sound the same when they are spoken, for example practice and practise, or stationary and stationery.
Other words do not look the same, but can be easily confused because they have similar, although not identical meanings, for example baby, infant, and child, or job and work.
Another area of confusion can be the grammatical differences between words which share a similar meaning or a similar form, for example after, afterwards, and later, or its and it’s.
Differences between British and American English can also cause confusion. You can learn about those differences in our lesson here.
The entries in this lesson deal with all these areas of confusion. The explanations are supported by real examples which show how the words are typically used in modern English.
The entries contain explanations only for those meanings of words which are confusable, and not necessarily for all the meanings.