Words commonly confused

Audience and spectators

The words audience and spectators have slightly different meanings. An audience is a group of people who have assembled at a place to see or hear a film, a speech or a performance.

People also gather to watch a live sports match or some other large events. These are usually called spectators or the crowd.

The word audience has a plural form: audiences. When used as a singular noun, audience takes the article an and is followed by a singular verb. The plural form audiences is followed by a plural verb.

  • The program was staged before an audience of some two thousand children.
  • International sporting events attract tens of thousands of spectators.

Title and headline

Books, poems, plays and other works of art have titles. Newspaper and magazine articles have headlines.

  • What is the title of her latest book?
  • Newspaper headlines have to be succinct.

Appraise and apprise

These words are often confused. They are both verbs. To appraise is to assess or evaluate a situation.

  • The managers will appraise the performance of their subordinates once a year.


To apprise is to inform or to notify.

  • They have been apprised of our decision.

Note that this verb usually takes the preposition of.

A lot, allot

A lot means a large quantity or number. Allot is a verb.

  • He has a lot of friends.
  • A lot of people want to buy cars.

To allot is to decide that something will be used for a specific purpose.

  • We must allot some money to take care of day-to-day expenses.