Commonly confused words list

 In Rules and Usage

Because so many words are very similar in pronunciation or spelling, it is sometimes useful to have a reference of the most commonly confused words. Here is a commonly confused words list


Accept and except
Accept: to receive
Except: excluding

Adverse and averse
Adverse: harmful
Averse: opposed

Advice and advise
Advice: a recommendation
Advise: to guide

Affect and effect
Affect: to cause
Effect:  as a result of.

Aid and aide
Aid: to help.
Aide: a helper.

Aisle and isle
Aisle: a passage way
Isle: an island.

All together and altogether
All together: all at once
Altogether: completely

Allusion and illusion
Allusion: something implied
Illusion: trickery, the art of deception

A lot  and allot
A lot: big quantity of.
Allot: apportion.

Aloud and allowed
Aloud: loud
Allowed: permitted

Allude and elude
Allude: refer to in a vague way
Elude: evade

Altar and alter
Altar: platform for priests
Alter: to change

Amoral and immoral
Amoral: neither moral or immoral.
Immoral:  something that is wrong

Assent and ascent
Assent: to agree
Ascent: upward

Bare and bear
Bare: naked.
Bear: to carry
an animal

Beside and besides
Beside: by the side of
Besides: moreover, also

Bough and bow
Bough: A branch of a tree
Bow: To bend over

Brake and break
Brake:a way to stop.
Break: to destroy

Cereal and serial
Cereal: breakfast food.
Serial: a TV show or story delivered in episodes.

Coarse and course
Coarse: roughly textured.
Course: a route

Complement and compliment
Complement: something that completes
Compliment: to express admiration of

Council and counsel
Council: an assembly of people
Counsel: advice

Decent and descent
Decent: well-behaved
Descent: to move down.

Desert and dessert
Desert:  an arid region
Dessert: a sweet meal such as cake, ice-cream served at the end of a meal.

Dose and doze
Dose: a quantity of medicine prescribed.
Doze: a short, light, spontaneous sleep

Elicit and illicit
Elicit: to draw out.
Illicit: not legal.

Freeze and frieze
Freeze: convert from liquid to a solid with reduced temperature, water to ice
Frieze: an artistic or decorative band on a building

Heroin and heroine
Heroin: A white, crystalline, calming powder which is a drug.
Heroine:A women of courage.

Hole and whole
Hole: an opening
Whole: the full amount

Lie and lay
Lie: an untruth.
Lay: to place

Loose and lose
Loose: to free or something that is too big, like a pair of trousers after losing weight
Lose: be without

Moral and morale
Moral: what is perceived as right, in terms of ethics.
Morale: to build confidence

Morning and mourning
Morning: the first part of the day
Mourning: the grieving process

Passed and past
Passed: completed the act of passing.
Past: something that has elapsed with time

Principal and principle
Principle: A morally accepted way to conduct oneself
Principal: the head of a school, a chief, etc

Stationary and stationery
Stationary: not moving.
Stationery: writing materials

Warn and worn
Warn: To give notice of impending danger
Worn: The past participle of wear.

There are many others, but these commonly confused words tends to be part of everyday English.

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