50 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

50 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Words that cause blunders because of the confusion

confusing english words – ELT Experiences

25 Nov, 2016


Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Have you ever been confused about the meanings of the words that sound similar? These are called homophones. Well, there are many such words in the English language which are confused by most of the students. The experts providing online assignment help to the scholars have listed down some of these so that you can understand the difference between these.


50 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Here is the list of the top ten words that are confused the most:

Affect and Effect

Affect is usually a verb. Effect is usually a noun If you find yourself stumped about which one to use in a sentence, try substituting the word alter or result. If alter fits use affect and if result fits use effect.

Gaff and Gaffe

A gaff is a type of spear with a long handle. A gaffe is a social misstep

Gray and Grey

Gray is the standard American English spelling. Grey is the standard British English spelling.

Historic and Historical

Historic means famous. Historical means related to history

Imply and Infer

Imply means to hint at something without saying it . Infer means to deduce something that hasn’t been stated directly.

Inquiry and enquiry

Inquiry and enquiry both mean request for information. Inquiry is the standard American English spelling. Enquiry is the British spelling.


Difference Between Accept and Except (with Examples and Comparison Chart) - Key Differences

Most Commonly Confused Words of English
Accept and Expect

Accept is used to show agreement or to receive or do something whereas the word expect is used for something that is excluded from other things.
For example: I was asked to accept a gift from everyone except the lady in black.

Than and Then

Than is used for comparison. Then is used to indicate time or sequence.

Their, There and They’re

Their is the possessive form of they. There indicates a place. They’re is a shortened form of they are.

For example: They’re almost here.

Cue and Queue
Although, the word cue is not so popular these days, but is used in some or the other documents. The word cue is used to show a signal for action and the word queue refers to the line of the people or vehicles. Like, you can make a queue not cue.

To and Too

To is a preposition. It is also used in the infinitive form of verbs.

For example: Mary has to go home.

Too is used as an intensifier, and also means “also”

Toward and Towards

Toward is standard in American English. Towards is standard in British English.

Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Who’s and Whose

Who’s is a shortened form of “who is”. Whose is a possessive pronoun that means belonging to.

Farther and Further

Farther refers to physical distance. Further refers to metaphorical distance.

Complement and Compliment
These two words are mistaken even by the experts. The word complement is used to refer an addition that might improve something whereas the compliment is the statement or remark anyone uses when (s)he admires something. For instance, the furniture complements my area; everyone complimented me on it.

Capital and Capitol

Capital has several meanings. It can refer to an uppercase letter, money, or a city where a seat of government is located. Capitol means the building where a legislature meets

 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Flaunt and Flout

Flaunt means to show off. Flout means to defy in a way that shows scorn

Disinterested and Uninterested

Disinterested means unprejudiced. Uninterested means bored and not wanting to get involved with something.

 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Dessert vs Desert - One is significantly less delicious than the other
Desert and Dessert
This is another pair of words in which students get confused a lot. Desert refers to a waterless and empty area away from all kinds of vegetation, but the dessert is used to refer the sweets or ice cream that you eat after a meal. For instance, do not expect dessert in the desert.

Empathy and Sympathy

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s perspective or feelings. Sympathy is a feeling of sorrow for someone else’s suffering.

It’s and Its

It’s is a shortened form of “it is. Its is a possessive pronoun that means belonging to it.

Lay and Lie

Lay means to put or to place. It also is the past tense of to lie Lie means to lean-back.

Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Dual and Duel
The word dual is used to describe something that has two parts whereas duel is used to describe a fight between two people. For example, the dual doors had duel guards.

E.g. and I.e.

e.g. means for example, while i.e. means that is.

Lead and Led

Lead, when it rhymes with bed refers to a type of metal. Led is the past tense of the verb to lead, which means to guide be first.

Advice and Advise
The word advice is a suggestion, but advise means to order or to impose something on anyone. For instance, you are adviced to take breaks but advised not to copy from others.

Learned and Learnt

Learned is standard in American English. Learnt is standard in British English.

 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Loose and Lose
Loose and Lose
This is the most common error noticed in a student’s academic document. The word loose means that does not fit properly and lose is something that you are unable to find. For example, you lose confidence if you wear loose clothes that look shabby.

Among and Amongst

Among is the preferred and most common variant of this word in American English. Amongst is more common in British English. Neither version is wrong.

Stationary and Stationery
The words stationery is used to refer the writing materials, and stationary is something that is not moving, but most of the students use them vice-versa and create confusions like never before

Most Commonly Confused Words of English

Among and Between

Among expresses a collective or loose relationship of several items. Between expresses the relationship of one thing to another thing or to many other things. The idea that between can be used only when talking about two things is a myth. that is: it’s perfectly correct to use between while you are talking about multiple binary relationships.

Emigrate and Immigrate

Emigrate means to move away from a country to live elsewhere. Immigrate means to move into a country from elsewhere.

Assure, Ensure and Insure

Assure means to tell someone that something will definitely happen or is most definitely true. Ensure means to make sure of something. Insure means to take out an insurance policy

Principle and Principal
The principle refers to a rule or a fundamental belief whereas principal is head of any educational institution. If used in a sentence, it will be like, our principal briefed us about the principles of the school.

Defence and Defense

Defense is standard in American English. Defence is found mainly in British English.

Breath and Breathe

Breath is a noun that refers to the air that goes in and out of your lungs. Breathe is a verb tat means to exhale and inhale

50 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

These are the most confused words that might become the reason of a disaster in your academic document. Hope you are well-aware of them now.

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50 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

The 10 most commonly confused words in the English language | My Online Language

50 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

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50 Most Commonly Confused Words of English

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