Commonly confused words
Read the pair of sentences given below. One of them contains a mistake.
The climate affected his health.
The war had no affect over oil prices.
Do you know which of these two sentences are correct?
There are quite a few words in English that look or sound alike but they have very different meanings. Examples are: wick and weak; pour and pore; affect and effect.
These words are easily confused and your spellchecker is unlikely to flag them because they can only tell whether a word has been wrongly spelled. Most of them will overlook the misuse of a correctly spelled word. Here is a list of word pairs that regularly cause confusion.
Accept and except
To accept is to agree to receive.
- She accepted my invitation.
Except means ‘not including’.
- All of them came except John. (= John didn’t come; everybody else came.)
Adverse and averse
Adverse means ‘unfavorable’ or ‘harmful’.
- The hot weather had an adverse effect on his health.
Averse means ‘strongly disliking’
- Which cat is averse to fish?
Advice and advise
Advice is a noun; advise is a verb.
- I don’t want to listen to your advice.
- The mother advised her son to be careful.
Affect and effect
Affect is a verb. To affect is to make a difference to.
- The climate affected his health.
Effect is a noun. It means ‘a result’.
- His words had no effect on her.
Aisle and isle
Aisle is the passage between rows of seats. An isle is an island.
All together and altogether
All together means ‘all at once’ or ‘all in one place’.
- We all went to the park together.
Altogether means ‘completely’.
- It is altogether wrong to treat animals cruelly.
Aloud and allowed
Aloud means ‘out loud’. Allowed means ‘permitted’.
Appraise and apprise
To appraise is to assess. To apprise is to inform.